I first came face to face
with Tall Poppy Syndrome when promoting my programs some years ago.
Any marketer will tell you ... make your
product enticing, needed and Bigger than Ben Hurr.
Over the years I have worked on the
launch of literally thousands of products, services and other
people, where these power marketing principals were hugely
successful. This time however, the product was "myself", which I
have to admit, I found much more difficult.
I am not alone, as most people find it quite challenging to promote
themselves. The reason we find self promotion more confronting, is
because, the majority of normal human beings are affected by the
same deep seated "feelings" of inferiority around
Why? Well because most
of us had it drummed into our heads, from early childhood, that a
display of self promotion was, well ... just not good manners.
It was considered that we were showing off, being egotistical,
bragging, being a know-all, or sounding dogmatic and were then
"tossed off" by the group, until the behavior was modified. We soon
learned that if we wanted to get along, we would have to go along (a
paramount need of children) and that any display of individuality or
leadership was going to be met with rejection in the form of a
rebuff, scoffing, ridicule or withdrawal.
We did eventually grow up, but instead of this dynamic moving along
with our childhood, it lingered on in our lives to become what is
now colloquially named "Tall Poppy Syndrome". Tall Poppy is a
deploringly distrustful force that (not unsimilar to a dangling meat
cleaver), is poised ready to chop down any identity that may get "too
big for their boots".
Tall Poppy shows up in our community via the media, on the radio or
television, in our clubs, throughout the work place and even within
our families. In fact ... anybody who attempts to stand out or be
different, will attract an element of Tall Poppy, whether they want
it, or not!
Taking on a Leadership role means moving beyond the Tall Poppy
issue, and insulating ourselves from the potential influences of
those who will invariably wish to bring us down.
It is a well known Leadership phenomenon, that
humans tend to fall back into a child-parent role-play scenario
within groups. Particularly in the case of a "Committee" or "Board",
if not monitored, a kind of "them and us" thing can develop. Just
like children testing the boundaries of their parents, the group can
unconsciously band together to "bring down" the leadership ... it's
nothing personal, that's just Tall Poppy Syndrome in action.
So .. just who do you think you are anyway?
We must briefly mention our champions of
Tall Poppy Syndrome - I was introduced to Miss. X. You must know
somebody like Miss X ... Leader of the Opposition ... Tall Poppy
Syndrome on legs ... you recognize them for their need to "expose"
your inefficiencies by competing with your knowledge and tweaking
your inner most fears with an alarming display of competition.
The loaded question indignantly came... "So, just who do you think
you are anyway?"
It was exactly at that point that I was so thankful that I had spent
all those years aspiring to conscious relationships. I realized in
that instant that I no longer believed that I was anybody in
particular at all ... I was free ...
and just "me" doing the best I could to
inspire other humans towards the same internal freedom. As a
result I came through the inquisition intact, whereas in years gone
by, my ego may not have survived.
It is so easy to fall into the dominating
clasps of our own belief system to degenerate into the ugly airs of
Many leaders unintentionally fall into the
self importance trap ... illusion becomes delusion and what
now exists is a "Legend-In-Their-Own-Mind". They have lost sight of
the fact that we are all on one level, hierarchy is a mere fantasy
and nobody is better than another.
Legend behavior is
like a honey pot to the bees of
Tall Poppy Syndrome.
Leadership is merely a role being played out by the courageous and
that always deserves respect.
So ask yourself this question truthfully .. are you a Legend In Your
Own Mind? ... or do you walk through life with a drain pipe full of
TPS stuck up your nose?
Cryptic? Well ~ Think about it!