👍 The Pygmalion Effect


The Pygmalion Effect is a psychological phenomenon in which high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area. In other words, people tend to rise to the level of expectations placed upon them.

Let's talk about The Pygmalion Effect.

The Pygmalion Effect is a psychological phenomenon in which high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area. In other words, people tend to rise to the level of expectations placed upon them.

🤔 Why you should care about it

"The results of the experiment we have described in some detail provide further evidence that one person's expectations of another's behavior may come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When teachers expected that certain children would show greater intellectual development, those children did show greater intellectual development." Robert Rosenthal, German-born American psychologist, in Pygmalion in the Classroom.

CTOs and technology leaders should care about the Pygmalion Effect because it can significantly impact the performance, motivation, and overall success of their teams. Technology leaders can create a more positive and productive work environment by understanding and leveraging the Pygmalion Effect.

😫 Problem(s)

Low team member motivation —> Team members lacking motivation may underperform, leading to reduced productivity and lower overall team performance.

Stagnant talent development —> A lack of high expectations and support can hinder team members from developing new skills, limiting their potential and the organisation's capacity for innovation.

High turnover —> When team members feel undervalued and unsupported, they may become disengaged and more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, resulting in costly recruitment and training processes for the organisation.

😃 Solution

CTOs and technology leaders can tap into the power of the Pygmalion Effect to motivate their teams to perform at their best, promote talent development, and increase employee retention.

More specifically, they can implement the following strategies:

  • Set clear and ambitious goals for team members, and communicate your confidence in their ability to achieve these objectives.
  • Assign challenging projects that require team members to think critically and develop innovative solutions, demonstrating your belief in their capabilities.
  • Encourage a growth mindset by emphasising the importance of learning from mistakes and focusing on continuous improvement.
  • Recognise and celebrate individual and team accomplishments, highlighting the impact of their work on the organisation's success.

💡 Key Concepts

Self-fulfilling prophecy —> occurs when a person's belief or expectation about a situation or individual leads to the realisation of that expectation, either directly or indirectly.

Expectancy theory —> demonstrates that belief influences an individual's motivation in the relationship between effort, performance, and outcomes.

Stereotype threat —> phenomenon in which people feel anxiety or stress due to the possibility of confirming a negative stereotype about their social group.

😡 Detractors

"The original Rosenthal and Jacobson study had methodological flaws" —> While the original study had limitations, subsequent research has provided additional evidence supporting the existence and impact of the Pygmalion Effect in various contexts.

"The Pygmalion Effect oversimplifies the complex interplay of individual differences in performance and growth" —> The Pygmalion Effect is just one factor that influences performance. Leaders should consider a holistic approach that accounts for diverse individual factors when setting expectations and providing support.

"The Pygmalion Effect can lead to negative consequences, such as increased stress, anxiety, and favoritism" —> By setting realistic expectations, providing adequate support, and treating all team members fairly, leaders can mitigate potential adverse effects while still leveraging the benefits of the Pygmalion Effect.

📚 Top book

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter - Liz Wiseman

🗂 See also

🧬 Memetic engineering

🎭 Team Rituals

⚠️ Dunning-Kruger Effect

📝 Top content

The Pygmalion Effect - The Decision Lab

Pygmalion in Management - J. Sterling Livingston (via Harvard Business Review)

The Pygmalion Effect, Growth Mindset, & Learning ft. Robert Rosenthal - Trevor Ragan