Stumbling Blocks or Stepping-Stones?

30 Jun

Here is a question for you: Are the obstacles in your life stumbling blocks or stepping-stones? Is the glass half empty or half full? Statistics show your approach to life’s events is likely to shape how you live your life.

We all know people whose approach to everything has a touch of Eeyore-ism. For those not familiar with Eeyore, he is a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books who goes through life with a pessimistic and gloomy attitude.

Unfortunately, the ol’ “I can’t do anything right” syndrome can be somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some people call this the Galatea Effect.

The Galatea Effect means that individuals’ opinions about their abilityhappy employee and their self-expectations about performance largely determine their performance. Moving that thought to the workplace: if employees think they can succeed, they will likely succeed. Carrying this one step further, it becomes apparent that actions supervisors take to increase employees’ feelings of positive self-worth will help employees’ performance improve.

It is important to not over-simplify this concept. Many other factors also contribute to the level of an employee’s performance, including  company culture, and employee’s life experiences, education, family support, and relationships with coworkers. However, positive supervision is one of the key factors that keeps good employees on the job.

These are ways in which you can encourage positive, powerful self-expectations in employees.

  • Provide opportunities for employees to experience increasingly challenging assignments. Make sure they succeed at each level before moving forward.
  • Enable employees to participate in potentially successful projects that bring continuous improvement to the workplace.
  • Provide one-to-one coaching with an employee. This coaching should emphasize improving what the employee does well rather than focusing on the employee’s weaknesses.
  • Provide developmental opportunities that reflect what employees are interested in learning.
  • Assign a successful senior employee to play a developmental mentoring role with a junior employee.
  • Hold frequent, positive verbal interactions with employees and consistently communicate your firm belief in employees’ abilities to perform the job. Keep feedback positive and developmental where possible.
  • Make sure employees are receiving consistent messages from other supervisory personnel. How you speak to others about employees powerfully molds their opinions.
  • Project your sincere commitment to employees’ success and ongoing development.

So there you have it! Harness the power of an employee’s positive self-expectations to ensure a productive and successful work performance.


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