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7 Behaviors That Defeat Professional Women

I was walking into a client appointment the other day and I saw her. I had worked with her about a year ago when the company hired me for a previous project. She wasn’t very nice then, and she wasn’t very nice now. She glanced my way and tried to pretend she didn’t see me. I exuberantly greeted her and while she couldn’t ignore my presence, she didn’t acknowledge it for very long either.

I’ve worked with a variety of women over the years and have observed their careers and results. Some women, I have enjoyed working with and learned a great deal from them. I was better for having them in my life. Other women have confused me with their behavior and words. In their zeal and climb of the corporate ladder, they became impersonal, cunning and downright mean.

The 7 behaviors I’ve observed that defeat professional women.

Treating counterparts like the enemy.

The success pie is a big one and there is plenty to go around. I’m not an advocate for women against women, or women against men in the race to get ahead. The enemy is outside the company walls, not within. You will get farther faster when you collaborate with others, sharing ideas, working together, and learning from one another. Be a part of the team. Choose actions that are unifying not divisive. When everyone wins, you win too. People will respect you and like you as well.

Elevating themselves at the expense of others.

When you’re good at what you do, you can be confident enough to allow others to be good too. Building yourself up by tearing others down shows weakness in talent and character.

Engaging in gossip and backstabbing.

It astounds me that people have time for this but they do. Nothing good comes from gossiping or backstabbing. This again shows weakness in character. Especially as a leader, your role is to speak words that are a catalyst to productive results.

Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.” ~ Bernard Meltzer

Being a work martyr.

I was having lunch with a business professional a few years ago and she was telling me her martyr story. In a nutshell, she had sacrificed relationships with her family in her climb of the corporate ladder. She had achieved the highest level of the organization that she could and now she was looking at the carnage of relationships she had left behind in her home. Don’t tie your identity to your title at work or some ideal of success. Keep your priorities straight.

“No man on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.'” –The late Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas


Flirting is where it starts and it’s hard to find a stopping point. Just don’t do it. Have more respect for yourself, your talent, and your abilities. Always operate with integrity. Don’t compromise yourself, it’s never worth it.

Letting themselves go.

I’ve seen this many times over. The executive who walks around worn and haggard has paid too high of a price for her success. Don’t do it. Go shopping, throw a splash of color on the daily black ensemble, wear flashy jewelry. Whatever you choose, choose to enjoy the life you’re living and show it confidently.

Not being kind.

You don’t have to be mean to get ahead. Just be nice and choose to do as Steve Martin suggested instead:

Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ~ Steve Martin

Women, stop being your own worst enemy! Be confident enough in yourself, your abilities and talents that you’re able to help others along the way. What goes around comes around, it’s only a matter of time. Be strong in your choices, words, thoughts and actions to receive the best life has to offer.

Michelle Glover is the founder and CEO of BusinessWomenExperts.com, a great place to connect with other women who are on a mission to, “create their pathway to a passionate personal and professional life.”

Written by personal leadership consultant, Kaylene Mathews.


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