Tall Poppy Syndrome is real at work


So you’ve finally accomplished a longstanding goal. You want to share your success with the world but soon find out the world doesn’t feel the same way. You could be feeling Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Have you noticed that others may not be as proud of you as you are with yourself? Looks like a classic case of Tall Poppy Syndrome  “…a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers”.

Interestingly, it is different across the world. In Australia, it is a common occurrence because it is thought that any individual achievement is also a collective achievement (you can’t take all the glory yourself), whereas in America, it is just the opposite. Any individual achievement is just that, the achievement of the individual.

For a woman, it can be particularly difficult in the working world, because there are not as many women in positions of power as there are men. This creates an environment of competition.

Tall Poppy Syndrome  has long been one of the reasons women don’t share their successes as loudly as men. But is it also preventing women from speaking up in the workplace?

Annemarie Cross writes in ‘Victim of the Tall Poppy Syndrome? What to do when things get nasty’ that after surveying people about whether they had experience of TPS, she had a resounding response.

“One woman found herself without a job after she had exposed several things to upper management that needed to be brought to their attention. Apparently her supervisor didn’t appreciate her new rise to fame and quickly saw to it that she was removed. A few years later she opened her own business and was frequently told by people in her community that she’d never achieve the goals she set for herself”.

This is an example of a woman who is serious about success. Although TPS resulted in her losing a job, it led her to starting her own successful business. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even for Tall Poppy’s.

So whatever you do and whatever anyone says, work hard and know your presence is not a privilege. You belong in your success.


About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.

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