The Pygmalion Effect - Managing the Power of Expectations

Category: Management/Leadership
Posted: 12-23-2011 11:00 PM
Views: 1587
Synopsis:

The basketball player stands at the free throw line and he just can't stop thinking about how he all his shots have been short today and sure enough the ball clanks off the front of the rim. The actor stands on the stage and all he can think about is how he is going to forget his lines, even though he has them completely memorized, and sure enough he can't remember them at the most important moment. The man steps up to the podium to give a speech scared to death that he is going to stutter and sure enough he does. The mind is a powerful thing and seems to be able to affect our actions whether positive or negative. This is widely known as the Pygmalion Effect.

The basketball player stands at the free throw line and he just can't stop thinking about how he all his shots have been short today and sure enough the ball clanks off the front of the rim. The actor stands on the stage and all he can think about is how he is going to forget his lines, even though he has them completely memorized, and sure enough he can't remember them at the most important moment. The man steps up to the podium to give a speech scared to death that he is going to stutter and sure enough he does. The mind is a powerful thing and seems to be able to affect our actions whether positive or negative. This is widely known as the Pygmalion Effect.

The Pygmalion Effect goes beyond our own selves though and works with our expectations of others too. It works with our expectations of our family, the people we coach and with the people we manage. As a manager, we have a profound effect with our expectations. In study after study and example after example, researchers have found that managers who expect the best out of their employees get the best and those managers who expect the worst, get exactly what they expected - the worst.
 

The great thing about the Pygmalion Effect though is the cure is within us. We just need to change our expectations. Here are some helpful ways to change expectations of employees and bring out the best in your whole staff.

Climate - A positive climate is key to raising expectations. A manager should always show confidence in tone of voice, non-verbal cues such as eye contact and actions. Everything a manager does should say to his employees - I believe in you!

Input - A manager needs to make his or herself part of his employees success. The manager needs to be there to provide positive feedback and constructive criticism. A manager's input is a huge key to success.

Freedom - Managers need to empower their employees - they need to provide them with training, exposure and expression. Employees should have the opportunity to learn new skills and time to practice those skills. Their successes should be exposed to upper management and recognized throughout the company. They should also be allowed to express themselves, even if their viewpoint is counter to your own.

The Pygmalion Effect is a powerful phenomenon and this power can be used to our detriment or to our benefit. Believe in your employees, your family and yourself. Your life will be more fulfilling and you will help others to be successful as well.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of management training videos such as The Pygmalion Effect.

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