“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.”