My boss has queen bee syndrome

Dear Joan:
How do I deal with the Queen Bee Syndrome?  I work in HR.  My boss consistently places the blame rather than solve the problem.  There are not any hard, written procedures on how to deal with various scenarios to provide direction on completing reports or objectives.
She does not trust me, and I am losing trust with her secreting information from me that which is a part of my job.  Somehow, I see the tactics as insecurity on her part and a way of protecting her position. 
The CFO stated recently that he does not want any “Turf Wars.”  I do not believe that he is aware of how my boss is handling the situation.  The turf seems to be getting more difficult every day.
If, indeed, she acts like the Queen Bee, she is going to be tough to work for. Queen Bees like to be the center of things, with everyone buzzing around them. The question is, are there no firm guidelines because:
  • She likes to be the one in control, with all the answers?
  • The scenarios are too varied for a one-size-fit’s-all template?
  • No one has taken the time to create the guidelines?
  • Or (gulp), are there no guidelines because in your job you are supposed to know how to do these things?
If the CFO has noticed the rift between you, others have noticed, too. Disagreements between managers and employees rarely end up in the employee’s favor. If she is big on blaming, we all know who is going to be on the losing end of this game. If the music stops, you are the one who will be without a chair.
Turf wars are typically waged between two peers, not between a boss and her employee. You are on her turf, since she runs the department, so I’m not sure what you are wrangling over. If you wish to stay employed, you would be wise to find a way to deliver what she wants. However, if you feel like a drone and resent it, you would be wise to start looking elsewhere.
If it’s a situation where no one has had time to develop guidelines and procedures, you would take a big step forward by creating them. If managers and others are looking to HR to provide guidance on drafting objectives, for example, why not take it upon yourself to create an outline to follow? This would clear up confusion and be perceived as a helpful service.
If you are the one who is struggling with how to complete your own reports and objectives, and she is not providing you with guidance or direction, perhaps you can consult your peers for help.
You mention that she is “secreting out information” from you and it seems you feel that is out of line with her job responsibilities. If she is running HR, it seems logical to me that she would want to know about all the sensitive and potentially explosive situations. Sharing information with her isn’t breaking confidentiality if she is the one who ultimately is accountable for keeping risks to a minimum.
It may be time to have a heart to heart conversation with your manager. Clear up any misunderstandings about roles, responsibilities and authority. Once that is clear, you will be in a better position to determine whether or not you want to stay.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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