Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford, gave a group of low-achieving seventh graders a seminar on how the brain works and put the students at random into two groups. The experimental group was told that learning changes the brain and that students are in charge of this process. The control group received a lesson on memory, but was not instructed to think of intelligence as malleable.
At the end of eight weeks, students who had been encouraged to view their intelligence as changeable scored significantly better (85 percent) than controls (54 percent) on a test of the material they learned in the seminar.
This is a breathtaking example of self-fulfilling prophecy and the “as if” principle in action. And there are many more. As we point out in our book Be Quiet, Be Heard, many studies have demonstrated that leaders’ expectations of employees have an impact on organizational effectiveness. Those who are treated as if they are capable of doing well, often do.
We want to hear. Do you perform better when you believe you are regarded as smart and capable? What do you do to make others feel this way? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.