LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
Are you the tallest poppy? Most gardeners prefer beds of flowers appear somewhat uniform. Any flower growing taller than the others is at risk of being trimmed so the remaining blooms are similar in size. The same is true with people. Any person rising above the crowd based on criteria like success, beauty, talent, or [_____] is at risk of being humiliated, teased, or discredited. In Australia, tall popping, the act of cutting a threatening individual down to size, is actually a verb. Envy, as opposed to admiration, impedes an individual’s productivity or team’s harmony.
Managers need to help envious employees recognize their destructive feelings and replace them with gratitude. ~James Larsen, Ph.D.
As leaders, we are responsible for building strong, productive, and happy employees—or at least providing an environment where that is possible. I have the fortune of working with “high-potentials” or Superstars. Superstars are brilliant, talented, driven, and/or attractive. Attractive may mean charismatic, wealthy, wise, funny, fun-loving, healthy, good-looking, energetic, [_____]. But not everyone loves the Superstar. Here are a couple of things to consider when working with a Superstar in the marketplace:
- Get to the root of irritation: What about other tall poppies irritates you so much? I challenge you to really think about the root cause of your envy or frustration. Address any revealed weakness or um, opportunity. Tall poppies may demonstrate a better way.
- There’s enough for everyone: What if the entire field of poppies just grew taller? Working with a team of incredible people is quite thrilling actually! Take this opportunity to learn from other tall poppies. Team up and offer support with an attitude of abundance.
Here are a couple of things to consider when working as a Superstar in the marketplace:
- Don’t chop yourself down: How do you handle your Superstar status? A simple “thank-you” in response to a compliment may be more gracious than a self-deprecating comment. Self-sabotage is disheartening for everyone. Stand firm in your greatness.
- Use power for good: How are you serving with your greatness? Part of being a tall poppy is not only owning your greatness, but also benefiting others with your greatness. Tall poppies never cause others to feel badly about their powerful characteristics.
Tall poppies can be inspiring! Astute leaders are able to detect the impacts of tall poppies on the team. They encourage growing poppies to exchange any envy for gratitude while helping them develop new areas of expertise. They encourage tall poppies to stand tall in their area of greatness while channeling it toward team promotion and excellence.
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Envy. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting all Christians, everywhere, for the purpose of Community, Accountability, Transformation, and Leadership. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.