Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pygmalion Effect : A Phenomenon That Every Leader Must Consider

Pygmallion is a character in a Greek myth. He worked as a sculptor and one day he created a woman statue which was very perfect and beautiful. Enamored by the beauty of his own making, Pygmalion begs the gods to give him a wife in the likeness of the statue. The gods grant the request, and the statue comes to life..

Based on that story, social psychologist Robert Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) conduct an experiment to see the impact of expections put on someone to his performance.  The work of Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968), among others, shows that teacher expectations influence student performance. Positive expectations influence performance positively, and negative expectations influence performance negatively. Rosenthal and Jacobson originally described the phenomenon as the Pygmalion Effect.
“When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.” (Rosenthal and Babad, 1985)
Some practical tips related to Pygmallion Effect that can be implemented in our daily life if you are a teacher or leader in a company.

  1. Never forecast failure in the classroom or workplace. If you know a test/task is particularly difficult, tell your students/follower that the test is difficult but that you are sure that they will do well if they work hard to prepare.
  2. Do not participate in gripe sessions about students/follower. Faculty members/leaders who gripe about students/follower are establishing a culture of failure for their students, their department and their own teaching.
  3. Establish high expectations. Students/follower achieve more when faculty/company have higher expectations. When you give students/employee a difficult assignment, tell them, “I know you can do this.” If you genuinely believe that your students/employee cannot perform the assignment, postpone the assignment and re-teach the material.

Setidaknya ada 2 orang hebat yang saya tahu dari kisah hidupnya mengalami efek pygmallion ini, dimana mereka mendapatkan posititive and high expectations dari orang-orang yang mereka hormati dan sayangi sehingga memberi mereka power untuk menjadi sukses. Kedua orang tersebut adalah Darwin Silalahi (CEO Shell Indonesia) dan Handry Satriago (CEO General Electric Indonesia).

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