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The Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon whereby others’ expectations of a target person affect the target person’s performance. When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur. This effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. It’s known also as the Rosenthal effect after the Rosenthal Jacobson study (1968).

The Rosenthal Jacobson study showed that if teachers were led to expect enhanced performance from their students, then the students’ performance was enhanced. On the other hand, Pygmalion, the mythical Greek sculptor, unable to love a human, appealed to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. She took pity and brought the statue to life. The couple married and went on to have a daughter, Paphos.

The Golem Effect

The corollary of this effect is the golem effect. In the simplest terms, it states that low expectations lead to decreased performance. Whether the expectation comes from others or us, the effect will still manifest in the same way. As you can tell by now, these effects point to the fact that you can have beliefs manifested, or coming true over time. It’s what happened with the Greek sculptor. It’s what the Rosenthal Jacobson study says.

In Business

So how do we benefit from this? The main idea behind the Pygmalion effect is that increasing the leader’s expectation of the follower’s performance will result in better follower performance. It has been applied in schools by some teachers. This is how the study of Rosenthal was made. And many leaders have applied in their businesses so as to enhance their results. Of course, I have to add this. Most of them have applied this without knowing that this effect actually does exist. Unlike them, you now know about it. So, you can apply it even more intentionally to bring the best out of those you work with.

Some managers always treat their subordinates in a way that leads to superior performance. But most … unintentionally treat their subordinates in a way that leads to lower performance than they are capable of achieving. The way managers treat their subordinates is subtly influenced by what they expect of them. If manager’s expectations are high, productivity is likely to be excellent. If their expectations are low, productivity is likely to be poor. It is as though there were a law that caused subordinates’ performance to rise or fall to meet managers’ expectations.

Writes J. Sterling Livingston in Pygmalion in Management.
In Network Marketing

You can take your network marketing business to the next level with this principle. I was so excited the first time I heard of it that I couldn’t really rest. Imagine a sure way that you can have your team doing what duplicates. What if you team is doing only the things that guarantee their success? We attain success by helping others. What if there is another way you can help your team? You can communicate with your team differently thereby building a team that is of massive action only.

Some distributors will do anything but talk to prospects. Do you tell them the truth about the business? Do you tell them to go out and take action? Remember the Pygmalion effect: the greater the expectation you place upon people, the better they perform. Believe in your distributors. Expect higher results. Your distributors will rise to the occasion, because they think your expectations are the norm.

Art Jonak

I have come to fully believe that success leaves clues. Some of us see these clues everyday much more clearly. I hope you are part of us. You have to be intentional about your goals. One of the people that joined me in my first month with one of the companies I worked with always talked of “being a go getter.” I now get it. You got to be a person that sees what needs to be done. And does it. Here is an effect which if you apply in your team; and teach it to your team, you will get a much earlier retirement. Would you love that? Let’s apply this now in our teams if we love that earlier retirement. Do what works!

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