When the Pygmalion effect and positive psychology invite themselves into the way we prepare for our mid-year interviews, or even an invitation to take another look and give another perspective to your individual and team interviews.
Ready to discover the Rosenthal and Jacobson effect and the Losada ratio?

Often, within companies, June is the ideal time to reflect and take a break. For us, it doesn’t really change much from the academic pace we were used to; for most of us, June was synonymous with “end of year report” and success or failure.
It just so happens that, just as I was thinking about writing this article, I saw in my LinkedIn feed a video from “Kiffer l’école” which is about “filling out school report cards” (reference: https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=0mA5Akl1JVc).

And then I got the idea of talking to you about the Pygmalion effect….
Have you heard of the Pygmalion effect?

Also called the Rosenthal and Jacobson effect, it refers to a self-fulfilling prophecy that causes the performance of a subject to improve according to how much an authority or their environment believe in their success.
According to this effect, simply believing in someone’s success improves their chances of being successful. When referring to positive effects, we speak of Pygmalion effect, and in the context of negative effects (lower performance and lower objectives as a result of a potential deemed ‘limited’ by an authority), we speak of Golem effect. (source Wikipedia).

In short, through their various studies, Rosenthal and Jacobson have demonstrated that by thinking someone has a certain characteristic, we change our own attitude towards that person, and influence them in such a way that they will actually acquire that characteristic or express it more obviously.

Are you even aware of what this means at your level, at your scale, in your role as a team leader?
Do you realize that depending on the way you look at your collaborators, you will adapt your attitudes according to your beliefs and that, consequently, you have an influence on their development, their probabilities of success?

Therefore, the way you look at and evaluate the “performance” of your employees and the way you talk about it has an influence on the result.
Based on this awareness, it becomes interesting to explore a few questions such as:

– With what intention are you preparing your teammates’ reviews?
– How do you look at that person?
– What are your beliefs about them and are you aware of your potential perception biases?
– With what intention will you conduct your mid-year interviews? How are they going to be carried out?
– How are you going to listen, how will you formulate your questions in an open, exploratory, and constructive way?

In this same context, the other concept that is good to keep an eye on is the Losada ratio, which results from research in positive psychology.
In 2004, interactions and remarks made in company team meetings were analyzed and correlated with the teams’ performance levels (customer satisfaction, profitability, etc.). Marcial Francisco Losada confirmed that the teams which have mostly positive discussions perform better.
According to his study:
The teams that perform the best have a ratio of positive interactions versus negative interactions between 2.9 to 1 and 11.6 to 1.
With less than 3 positive interactions for 1 negative interaction, teams are underperforming.
Underperforming teams have a ratio of 1 positive interaction to 3 negative interactions.
Beyond 12 positive interactions for 1 negative interaction, the team becomes too “la la land”, loses its critical thinking and its performance.
His conclusion is that high performing teams have a ratio of 6 positive interactions to only 1 negative interaction.

Yes, being a leader means, among other things, making sure that you create a team that performs and help each person to grow and develop.
Doing so by becoming aware that we have an impact both through our eyes and our beliefs, and through our way of expressing it all, is to recognize and accept our limits.
That’s what being a humane leader means.