Do you want to destroy healthy relationships and create a divided workforce? It is easy, just hire a “Mean Girl” or a “Locker-Room Jock.”

Apr 29, 2024 | Leadership, Sales

As we continue to advance women in leadership, knowing the tipping point is only four years away, we must avoid behaviors that oppose the mission. For men, it is known as “locker room talk,” and for women, it is known as “mean girls.” Locker room shenanigans and mean girls are characterized by gossiping, exclusion, manipulation, and belittlement. It was reserved for teenagers and lonely people in the past, but the momentum has left the schoolyards and now exists in workplaces and social settings. These tactics are not only morally questionable but fundamentally ineffective. This essay explores why mean-girl and locker-room antics don’t work, emphasizing the importance of healthy relationships and leadership.

  1. Erosion of Trust and Respect: “Mean girls and locker-room talk” tactics erode trust and respect among individuals. When people engage in these behaviors, they damage their credibility and reputation. Trust is a cornerstone of effective leadership and positive relationships. Once it’s lost, it’s challenging to regain.
  2. Negative Impact on Team Dynamics: “Mean girls and locker-room” tactics disrupt team dynamics in workplaces and group settings. They create a toxic environment where collaboration and cooperation become nearly impossible. Healthy relationships are essential for a productive team.
  3. Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Losses: These tactics may yield short-term gains, such as influencing others or gaining momentary power. However, in the long run, they result in isolation and resentment. Authentic leadership is about building lasting connections.
  4. Mental and Emotional Drain: Engaging in “Mean girls and locker-room” tactics affects cognitive and emotional well-being. Maintaining negativity requires constant effort, which can lead to stress and burnout. Healthy relationships, on the other hand, promote emotional well-being.
  5. Missed Opportunities for Growth: Instead of building others up, “Mean Girls” and “locker-room talk” tear them down. This not only hinders the growth of individuals but also prevents personal growth for those employing these tactics. Leadership should be about encouraging growth, both for oneself and others.
  6. Undermines Leadership Potential: Effective leadership relies on inspiring, motivating, and supporting others. “Mean girl” and “locker-room” tactics undermine leadership potential, as they promote fear rather than inspiration. True leaders lift others and create an environment of trust and collaboration.
  7. Negative Impact on Reputation: Those consistently employing “Mean girls” and “locker-room” tactics often earn a negative reputation. This reputation can have far-reaching consequences in both personal and professional life. Healthy relationships, conversely, contribute positively to one’s reputation.
  8. Lack of Authenticity: Authenticity is a critical element of effective leadership. “Mean girl” and “locker-room” tactics are an inauthentic facade to gain power or control. Authentic leaders are true to themselves and build relationships based on trust and transparency.
  9. Unhealthy Competition: “Mean girl” and “locker-room talk” tactics promote unhealthy competition, where individuals are pitted against each other. Healthy relationships encourage cooperation and competition that fosters growth and innovation.
  10. Missed Opportunities for Learning: Healthy relationships provide learning and personal development opportunities. Individuals engaging in constructive conversations and open dialogue can learn from others’ experiences and perspectives, which is essential for leadership growth.


“Mean girls” and “locker-room talk” tactics might provide a temporary illusion of power or control, but they fail to produce sustainable results. They erode trust, hinder personal growth, and damage relationships—qualities that are crucial for effective leadership. True leaders understand the importance of healthy relationships, empathy, and cooperation in achieving lasting success. By embracing positive leadership qualities and rejecting “Mean girl” and “locker-room talk” tactics, individuals can foster a more productive, supportive, and fulfilling environment in their personal and professional lives.

As we prepare for the times ahead, let’s focus on the women who care the most. Those who inspire, those who are sympathetic to the problem, empathetic to the person, and meet you in the middle.

That’s real leadership.

If you want to know more, please reach out. I would love to continue the conversation.



This article is designed to reveal the findings of my newest academic study, Here Come the Girls. The doctoral paper will be published next month, and the commercial book will be released this June.


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