Expecting things from people might not always be healthy, but when it comes to workplace, it looks like expectation really does the trick.
According to a new study, employees' performance in the workplace, like students' grades at school, is greatly influenced by managers' expectations of that performance.
According to a new research by scientists at Tel Aviv University, employers who expect more from their employees get more from them.
An analysis of results from twenty-five years' worth of experimental research conducted at banks, schools, the Israel Defense Forces - and even summer camp - shows unequivocal results: when a leader expects subordinates to perform well, they do.
"A self-fulfilling prophecy goes into effect," said Prof. Dov Eden from Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management, who conducts and directs the experiments.
"Managers and leaders would be well-advised to expect a lot, and let people know they expect a lot. The message should be genuine and consistent," Eden added.
In one of Prof. Eden's experiments, he divided bank branch managers into two groups. One group of managers was told that their employees were exceptional; the other group was told nothing about their employees' performance potential.
When Prof. Eden analyzed performance results, he found a significant difference between the branches. There had been no pre-existing differences between employees, but the branch managers who were led to expect more, got more - their branches scored higher in terms of profitability and overall economic success.
This effect has been found in dozens of organizations: high expectations have a positive effect in business and in many other social arenas, Prof. Eden said.
The results of the study indicate that when a manager expects a lot from an employee, the manager's leadership style changes and subsequently boosts the employee's self-confidence.
"If your boss believes you can excel, you are more likely to believe in your own capacity to succeed," says Prof. Eden.
The recipe for success, says Prof. Eden, is to "expect a lot from people. You'll get more. Have high expectations and reinforce them with positive messages to the employee, even if it requires being a good actor."