What does the Pygmalion effect have to do with stress?

by | Mar 24, 2014 | Communication, Emotional Intelligence

I’ve been noticing a great deal lately just how many managers report feeling stressed because of their team’s performance or lack thereof. I’ve heard some rather strong beliefs that the youngsters of today just can’t be managed and motivated. If you go back and read my article about ‘confirmation bias’ it is scary what these beliefs are reinforcing. And now I want to layer on another psychological effect that could be causing you stress so you can take Key Steps to…

Expect the best… you might just get it!

1. Understand the pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. A corollary of the pygmalion effect is the golem effect, in which low expectations lead to a decrease in performance. The pygmalion effect and the golem effect are forms of self-fulfilling prophecy. People will take the belief they have of themselves (negative in this case) and attribute traits of the belief with themselves and their work. This will lead them to perform closer to these expectations that they set for themselves. The same is true for the expectations we have of others, so…

2. Expect more from others. Robert Rosenthal found that when a teacher was told that some students in their class had tested as being gifted (even when this wasn’t true), those students performed better anyway – because of the teacher’s expectations and behaviour. The same was true if the teacher thought their children were poor performers (even when this wasn’t true), those students performed worse even though they were gifted. What does this mean for you? Expect more from the people you work with. Even if their past behaviour hasn’t been as good as you would like, mentally set a higher standard for them, and you might be surprised when they reach it. This doesn’t mean we should just ‘wish’ for better performance alone – it is important to train, mentor and develop your team. But it does mean that we can thwart our best efforts of improving performance simply by seeing your team as non-performers.So, again we see that, you do indeed create your reality with your thoughts. It is up to you to think thoughts that will lead to better performance and less stress and take Key Steps to…

“be the difference that makes the difference




NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free bi-weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, EQ Expert, Founder and CEO

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’