Harnessing The Pygmalion Effect

In a study done by two psychologists (Rosenthal and Jacobsen), elementary school teachers were given false information about two groups of students in their care.  Group A, they were told, was very bright and responsive, and Group B, dull and distracted.  In reality, the kids were randomly assigned to the two groups.

By the end of the year, the two groups performed exactly as expected:  Group A strongly outperformed Group B in a variety of measures.  The teachers also reported that Group A was nicer to work with.

Never underestimate the power of your attitude over the people that you work with.  If you believe people are bright and can learn, you’re right.  If you believe that no one could ever do something as well as you can, you’re also right.

Do you work with a never-ending stream of losers?  Maybe it’s time to take a look in the mirror, and consider how your own attitudes may be affecting the performance of your direct reports.

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