**Why Simon Sinek Says You Should Stop Calling People ‘Underperformers’**

Bestselling author and leadership expert, Simon Sinek, recently spoke out against the casual use of the word ‘underperformer’ in the workplace, at the 2023 World Business Forum summit.

Sinek believes that the standard definition of an underperformer is often too broad, and that it is essential to give people grace when they are struggling at work.

He stated, “Underperformance is sometimes obviously a condition of the people we hire. Of course, we [might] hire poorly, and sometimes we make mistakes. But sometimes, underperformance is a condition of the work environment that they’re in.”

### The Negative Impact of Labeling

Sinek expressed his concern about the negative impact of labeling someone as an underperformer. Once someone is given that label, it tends to stick, regardless of whether it accurately describes the person’s performance.

He highlighted the adverse effects of this label, explaining, “What ends up happening is, all we do is think about them and treat them as an underperformer. All we do is notice the things that they get wrong, correcting minor things over and over again, to the point where we completely destroy their confidence.”

### Empowering Through Positive Reinforcement

Sinek’s advice for dealing with struggling employees is to practice positive reinforcement. He emphasized the power of recognizing and rewarding strengths, rather than focusing solely on weaknesses.

Referencing a 2013 TED Talk by leadership expert Mike Robbins, Sinek stressed the importance of appreciation in the workplace. According to University of Berkeley data, employees who feel recognized and appreciated demonstrate better performance than those who do not.

### The Importance of Coaching and Support

For bosses dealing with employees who are struggling, Sinek recommended offering coaching and emphasizing an expectation for improvement. He advocated for a supportive approach, rather than resorting to termination as the first solution.

In Sinek’s opinion, the only valid reason for letting an employee go is if they prove to be uncoachable, showing no willingness to learn.

In summary, Sinek’s message focused on shifting the narrative away from characterizing individuals as underperformers, and instead, offering support and reinforcement to empower them.

Sinek’s advice stresses the importance of recognizing and appreciating employees’ efforts, and encouraging further growth and development within the workplace.