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The Power of Expectations

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Do expectations really make a difference? Robert Rosenthal, the first psychologist to systematically study this with teachers and children, found there were IQ gains in students in whom they expected this outcome. In addition, as noted on NPR.com:

“As Rosenthal did more research, he found that expectations effect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.”

These same children grow up to be working adults, and one set of “teachers” in their lives are those charged with leading the organizations for which they work. Imagine what would happen in your company if you consistently expected higher performance, better productivity, and greater success from your entire workforce? Just as this improved the level of engagement of the teachers in Rosenthal’s research, what would happen if you increased your level of engagement? Even for those leaders who are already enrolled in mostly positive interactions with staff, what could just even a little more do for them and the outcomes they achieve? Isn’t it worth finding out?

Scott WintripThe Power of Expectations

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