Many of the girls who call ask about what they should do when the Ugly Step Sister is either a direct supervisor or someone highly influential in the company.
These women I refer to as the Wicked Step Mothers because they are in the BEST position to help other women coming up through the ranks, but don't. They are also in the best position to do the most serious career damage to a young woman, and do.
If you work for or with a micromanaging, manipulative Wicked Stepmother who you feel is out to get you or just squash your will to live, you must proceed with great caution because she has evil magic powers. If the Wicked Step Mother is your boss, complaining about her to her boss, will probably get you banished to the dark forest. The exec will most likely support the Wicked Step Mother and become suspicious of you. Remember that her boss probably made the choice to hire her in the first place.
If the Wicked Step Mother is not your boss, but someone who is in tight with the CEO and is making trouble for you, no one will come to your rescue because she has the ear--and presumably the approval--of the Big Cheese (your boss).
If it sounds grim, that's because it is. Frankly, there's not a hell of a lot you can do if a Wicked Step Mother has it in for you; 99.9% of the time, you're screwed and will need to start looking for a new jobbie. But, there are some countermoves that won't turn the beast into a beauty, but might civilize her a bit.
Find a Champion. See if you know someone outside your company who will talk you up to the President of the company. As in: "Oh, I hear you have Jocelyn on your staff. She's amaazing. Hang on to that one!" IF, and only IF that outside person is impressive enough and has enough influence with the Most Uppity Upper, then he will make it a point to know who you are and what you do for his company, which could force the Step Mother to cease and desist all overt wicked behavior aimed in your general direction.
Toe the line. Do your very best work. Show up on time. Don't take long lunches or spend time on personal calls. Do exactly what she says to do, without complaint or argument. Demonstrate real effort on the job, and a desire to please her. She might just come around.
Get visible. Do what you can to make yourself visible to other department heads. Go express interest. Offer to help. Find an influential person in the company and ask her to become your mentor. Focus your priorities on those items in your in-box that will be the most likely to be brought to the attention of other execs, like a way to save or make a ton of money, and make sure your name is on everything you do.
Suck it up. We don't really advocate this for most people, but for those who want to do their job, are not promotion minded and just want to get home to have a life, this is a viable option. But ONLY if you can meet these three criteria: #1. If you can keep your focus on your personal plan and priorities. #2. If you can avoid taking the Wicked Stepmother's bullying personally. #3 If your job performance isn't suffering in any way.
You can reach me at Jocelyn@SiderRoad.com