The work of Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) shows that the expectation of teachers has a positive or negative influence on the performance of their students. This is called the Pygmalion effect; positive expectations affect performance in positive way while negative expectations affect performance in a negative way. This is also true in the workplace.
There are many factors that affect an employee’s performance, such as the company culture, relations with co-workers, and the type of work being performed. One of the most important factors is the supervision that an employee receives on the job. The frontline supervision is critical to how the employee views the company. The frontline supervisor is the manager who interacts with the employee on a regular basis and thus is critical to the morale of that individual.
These are the ways that a supervisor can have a positive Pygmalion effect:
- Provide challenging opportunities to allow for experience of growth for the employee.
- Assign a senior employee to be a mentor.
- Provide timely feedback, both positive and developmental.
- Show sincere commitment to the employee’s success.
- Provide one-on-one coaching.
This strategy will allow the employee to have a positive self-image that will lead to powerful, productive, and successful work performance.