Self-Efficacy and the Galatea Effect

You may have heard of the Pygmalion Effect, sometimes called the Rosenthal Effect.  Named after a Greek sculptor and documented in the 1988 Harvard Business Review classic “Pygmalion in Management” by J. Sterling Livingston, Pygmalion deals with how a leader’s expectations are central to a subordinate’s performance and development.  In other words, what we think about someone else tends to pre-determine our expectations about their ability to perform.  We then act towards them in accordance with our beliefs to create a type of self-fulfilling prophecy of performance or non-performance.

If what you believe about others affects how you engage with them, how does what you believe about yourself affect your performance?

Self-efficacy is defined as our individual beliefs about our capabilities and our ability to produce desired levels of performance.   To a great degree these beliefs determine how we feel, think and behave.  This is the Galatea Effect, named after the stone statue of a beautiful woman created by Pygmalion.

Stanford University’s Dr. Albert Bandura pioneered the concept of self-efficacy.  His theory is that what I believe about myself determines the choices I make, which challenges I accept, how I approach those challenges and how I will deal with adversity.

Someone with a high self-efficacy will tend to have high personal expectations, set challenging goals and maintain a strong commitment to those goals, even if they don’t yet know how they will reach them.  Conversely, individuals with a low self-efficacy will generally avoid tasks that they believe are not within their capabilities.  They set “achievable” goals and exhibit minimal commitment to those goals.

The beliefs we hold about ourselves are derived from how and what we think about ourselves.  In a very real sense we are what we think we are.  Repetition of a thought over time cements itself into a belief.  Significant emotion attached to a thought or event speeds up the process.

Thoughts become beliefs.  Beliefs drive behavior.  Behavior determines performance.  Everything is related to our self-efficacy.

What do you really believe about the members of your team and how are those beliefs affecting individual and team performance?

What does your leadership team believe about the organization and how are those collective beliefs shaping your organizational goals and overall performance?

What do you really believe about yourself and how are those beliefs self-limiting your potential and performance?

If you’d like to explore these questions in greater detail, hit the Contact Us tab and drop us a line.  We’ll get right back to you!

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