The research which led to The Pygmalion and Golem Effects stems from the world of education. In the world of education it’s important to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of success regardless of their backgrounds. This is particularly important if, as a society, we are to progress social integration and social mobility.
Though there have been some challenges to the research undertaken in determining this effect, our view is that the concept remains valid. In the workplace, the level of expectation that leaders have of their employees does affect the performance of those employees. In part this is because the level of expectations that leaders have affects how they act and behave around those employees. It affects their interactions, trust, delegation and definitions of success.
In the words of Robert Rosenthal, who did the original research on this subject, the expectation that one has of another person’s performance ”comes to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy”. In our view, one of the best way to help the individuals in your team to achieve high levels of performance is to believe that they can do so.
As a side note on The Pygmalion and Golem Effects, there’s an interesting phenomenon where Chinese children born in the year of the Dragon, the most auspicious of years, are generally more successful than children born in other years. Research suggests that this is do to the increased expectations of these children.