Encouraging High Achieving Workers to Maximize their Potential

“Tall Poppy Syndrome” has taken root in today’s workplace. What can HR and managers do to stop it?

If a work colleague refers to you as a “tall poppy,” that means you stand out. You’re successful. Good news, right? Actually, this isn’t a compliment. In the eyes of some, high achievers — these tall poppies — are “cut down” (figuratively) by their colleagues or managers through disparaging comments or actions. That’s the idea behind Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS), a phenomenon present in Canadian workplaces. 

TPS happens not only to women but also to men. Dr. Rumeet Billan, Learning Architect of Viewpoint Leadership Inc., conducted a study on TPS in 2018. She says: “We know this anecdotally. Even the term — which was coined in Australia — is not specifically related to women.” 

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Written By

Brooke Smith is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor.


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