Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pygmalion Effect

The Greek fable on Pygmalion, the sculptor
‘Pygmalion’, the play of Bernard Shaw
HBR studies on the phenomenon
and book of Moid Siddiqui
All beckon  us  to pay heed
to the power of expectations

When treated as a lady
And expectations made as from a lady
The flower seller transformed
in all aspects to be hailed
“My fair Lady”
but when scorned
and treated like dirt
she slipped back
to an uncouth flower girl!

The same thought expressed
in Goethe’s famous quote -
 “ treat people as if
they were what they ought to be
and you help them to become
what they are capable of being”

When will corporates take the cue
and treat all their people with respect?
not just in speeches from decked up platforms
But in day to day little matters
that matter a lot to employees
When will corporates
harvest the benefits of becoming Pygmalion leaders?

NB: The 'Pygmalion'written by Bernard Shaw in the thirties was made into a successful Holywood movie "My Fair Lady"in the sixties. J. Sterling Livingston wrote the HBR classic in 1969. Mr Moid Siddiqui, management author wrote the book -"Pygmillion Manager" in 2008.


  1. A very interesting take on the play .. and an apt one too . Hoping that leaders/managers will follow suit ..
    A nice read .. am following :)

  2. So are you trying to state that if the managers convince their reportees that they will succeed, that (the belief in the reportees) boosts their confidence and will increase the reportees' success?

  3. It has nothing to do with convincing. You just have to treat people with respect & as if they are already capable and they will raise their performance levels to the levels of expectations.. Do read on the internet experiments conducted by Harward business school in this regard.
    Broadly though, what you have stated is correct Ajay.