Simon Sinek has declared war on a seemingly innocent word: "underperformer."

Nov 30, 2023

In a stunning revelation, bestselling author and leadership expert Simon Sinek has declared war on a seemingly innocent word: "underperformer." In an address at the 2023 World Business Forum summit, Sinek vehemently urged professionals to expunge this term from their workplace vocabulary. His audacious claim? Most people's definition of an underperformer is far too loose.

Sinek's alternative to this linguistic atrocity is simple yet profound: give them grace. According to him, underperformance can stem from the people we hire or the work environment they find themselves in. But here's the kicker: once someone is labeled an underperformer, it sticks like glue, regardless of whether they truly deserve it.
So, what's Sinek's antidote to this toxic labeling? Positive reinforcement. Rather than dwelling on someone's perceived shortcomings, he advocates for creating a narrative centered around future improvements. He argues that catching people doing things right and expressing high expectations can be powerful motivators. In fact, Sinek cites University of Berkeley data to support the notion that recognition and appreciation at work boost performance significantly.

In a world where firing employees seems to be the go-to solution for struggling individuals, Sinek boldly suggests a different approach. Instead of hastily showing them the door, he proposes offering coaching and emphasizing their strengths. Only when someone proves themselves uncoachable should the termination option be considered.

While some may find Sinek's ideas revolutionary, others might see them as common sense. Either way, one thing is certain: the war against the word "underperformer" has begun, and Sinek is leading the charge. So, let us banish this word from our workplace vernacular and embrace a culture of grace and positive reinforcement. As we do so, may we all push further and harder, striving for excellence together.

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