Pygmalion Effect in 5 Steps: Improving Team Performance


Especially in leadership roles, executives frequently underestimate the effect their expectations have on the team’s motivation. Your team’s productivity can be raised in just 5 simple steps.

The Pygmalion Effect: Be aware of your leaders!

We frequently underestimate how others are impacted by our expectations. But we should be wiser because, if we are fortunate, many of us have had managers who have helped advance our careers.

Most likely, when we reflect, we can recall helpful criticism, instruction, or ongoing support. We fail to consider, however, how his expectations of us have influenced our performance and sense of self.

Read Also: The project risks : Explained

Utilize staff members’ development potential: An engaging experiment

The famous study conducted at a primary school in 1965 by American psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Leonore Jacobson illustrates this effect and demonstrates how closely our actions match those of others.

After an IQ test, teachers learned that 20% of their students had exceptional developmental potential. In actuality, the students were picked in a wholly random manner.

Executives get different outcomes when they treat their staff members differently.

These kids had significantly higher IQs than their peers in a later re-measurement of IQ, where it appeared that no increased performance potential had been found.

Read Also: Sustainability communication: a powerful tool to attract and retain the best talent.

Yet why? They had been treated differently by the teachers, who showed more empathy, patience, and encouragement for these students.

The students had lived up to the teachers’ expectations, who had thought they were more gifted.

Utilize the expectation-creating potential of your workforce to achieve self-fulfilling prophecy
The Pygmalion effect also occurs in business settings.

Because employees adjust their behavior and output to the demands of the supervisor, just like the experiment’s students did. Managers and team leaders constantly convey their perceptions of their team members’ skills, both verbally and nonverbally.

Read Also: The Sociotechnical School of Thought: Explained

Subtle cues like tone of voice, eye contact, and body language can communicate expectations even if the recipient is unaware of them. Additionally, we are all subconsciously taught to decipher these signals in order to comprehend what is expected of us and modify our behavior.

When managers have faith in their staff, they are more motivating.

As a result, when managers act as though they believe in the potential of their team members, it helps to boost their morale and productivity.

But at the same time, the opposite is true. When an employee performs poorly, it is quickly assumed that they lack competence. Future expectations for him become progressively lower, which creates a vicious cycle in which both his performance and confidence suffer. The “golem effect” is then used to describe a self-fulfilling expectation that is negative.

Read Also: Why it is essential for employee motivation to allow self-leadership ?

Boost performance The Pygmalion Effect: 5 Steps

Use the Pygmalion effect to improve team performance in your organization by taking into account these five possibilities:

Go unprejudiced into cooperation: Regardless of what you know about the past performance of your employees, it is important to start the collaboration without prejudice. So give everyone the opportunity to develop positively. Maintain a corporate culture in which excellence is promoted and, in a certain way, expected.

Set high – but realistic – goals: Too low targets are not motivating, as are unrealistically high targets. Instead, you should set goals for your employees that lie outside their comfort zone but can be achieved with high probability.

Read Also: 7 leader tips for self-directed teams

Offer your support: Once you have set challenging goals for your employees, it is important to offer support. Demonstrate commitment by identifying the role you can play in attaining your goals. If an employee fails to perform a task, support him by exploring the cause together. The way we react to weaknesses or mistakes is crucial. In Shutterstock, for example, we cultivate a culture in which mistakes are definitely desired to grow.

Speak positively about your team: When talking to other employees about your team members, highlight their positive qualities and point out the strengths and potential of your team. The way we talk about others can positively influence the opinions and expectations of others.

Give positive feedback: Given the fact that praise has a strong impact on our work and costs us nothing, it is surprising how rarely we praise our employees. When an employee does a good job, you should make sure that he is aware of it – to repeat this in the future and to improve further. For Shutterstock, for example, we have monthly feedback discussions with the employees, whether they reach their goals or if they need support.

Conclusion: Always expect the best from your team

So expect only the best of your team and offer them your full support – you will be rewarded with self-confident, satisfied employees and improved performance

Previous articleWhat Makes an Effective Leader?
Next articleAccounting Information Systems


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here