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Many people have stories of achieving something great because someone had high expectations of them. The concept of the Pygmalion Effect is that expectations will influence performance and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The term "Pygmalion effect" comes from studies done in the 1960s on the effect of teacher's expectations on students' IQ. If teachers had high expectations, would pupils live up to them? Although the conclusion was that the effects were negligible, the idea is widespread.
The Pygmalion effect suggests that other people's expectations can influence how we think, how we act, how we view our capabilities, and what we achieve.
In Pygmalion in Management, J. Sterling Livingston writes that managers have the ability to lower or increase the performance of their subordinates by how they treat them. If their expectations are low, productivity is likely to suffer. If managers expectations are high, productivity is likely to be excellent.
"The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps".
The expectations people have of us affect us in many hidden ways. Their expectations can dictate the opportunities we are offered, how we are spoken to, and the praise and criticism that comes to us. These nudges might influence our success in life.
The Pygmalion effect can then serve as a reminder to be aware of the potential influence of our expectations.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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