Increase Team Performance with the Pygmalion Effect


How many of you often consider the amount of positive influence you have over your employees? What if there was a way of freeing the minds of your team members in a way that allows them to approach their work and ideas with passion and fervor?


We present to you the “Pygmalion Effect.”

The Pygmalion Effect is an experience founded by Professor Robert Rosenthal, an incredibly decorated psychologist who has graced the research students at Harvard, UCLA and UC Riverside, and boasts an arsenal of awards for his incredible work in applied social psychology and interpersonal behavior. Yeah, he knows what he’s talking about.

The Pygmalion effect is the phenomenon that the higher an expectation is placed upon a person, the better they perform. Also known as self-fulfilling prophecy, it is psychologically proven that humans will basically live up – or down – to the expectations and labels placed upon them.


If you read his flagship study about teachers and students in the classroom, you’ll find that the children in school who were told that they were star students and would do amazing on the test performed consistently and significantly better than the group of kids who were not told that they would do great. This effect of positive psychology on the human brain is so powerful that a simple expression of belief and confidence from someone can completely alter your mindset - and your work.


We do want to mention, however, that it goes both ways

Being the kind of leader that refrains from showing gratitude or acknowledgement of value contribution, or being short and condescending or disconnected from your team can have the exact opposite effect - low morale and lackluster performance results. No thanks.

Knowing that, as leaders, we have so much power in enabling the best kinds of mindsets in our employees, why wouldn’t we add this simple & uplifting tactic in our leadership tool boxes? And to sweeten the deal? It’s all yours at absolutely zero cost to you.


Now it’s your turn!  

Ask yourself: What expectations/labels do you place on your team members? What experiences – good, bad, or ugly – have you had with the Pygmalion Effect that has affected group performance?