The temperature is anywhere between a sizzling 82 degrees and a scorching 102 degrees, from Montauk to Miami and from Dallas to Des Moines. Kids are wrapping up their summer break from school. Families are heading to the shore, water parks and lakes to cool off or up to the mountains to relax. Adventure seekers are cruising, sailing and soaring to far-off destinations. Vacations abound.
Meanwhile back at the world of work, far from the summer fun, businesses continue to function. Customers continue to place orders. Goods still need to be delivered and services must still be provided. As staff takes time off, summer vacations inevitably place a burden on those who remain behind to carry the load. Companies must be careful in how they handle summer vacation requests and manage staff leave time. There is a fine line between being so permissive with leave time that business suffers and being so rigid with vacation requests that employees aren’t able to get a much-deserved break to rest and recharge their batteries. Walking that fine line is the challenge. Continue reading
There are countless sayings about setting high expectations. Aim high. Shoot for the stars. Raise the bar. The belief is that the higher the expectations, the greater the results. But is this actually true? Can the expectations that we set for a person actually affect how well that person performs? Has this been validated scientifically or is it just an old wives tales?
Consider a research study done in education. A third of the students in an average class were selected at the beginning of the school year. The teacher was told that those students were “high potential” achievers and were very likely to bloom that year in her classroom. The teacher was told that even if she did nothing different, those students were likely to excel. However, the teacher was asked to ignore that information and treat all the students the same. The teacher believed she did treat all the students the same. The students were not told about the study at all. Given that the students knew nothing about the study and the teacher said she treated all the students the same, the performance by students labeled “high potential” should have been no different than the rest of the class. However, the results told a different story. Based on their scores on standardized achievement tests, the students identified as “high potential” achievers had greater gains in achievement over the course of the year than the rest of the students, even though the so-called “high potential” had actually been picked at random. The only difference between the “high potential” and the rest of the students was just in the teacher’s mind… in her expectations.
That study has been replicated and validated many times with students worldwide…. but what about with adults? Does this phenomenon also hold true for adults? Could it be applied to the workplace? Can the preset expectations that managers have of employees actually impact their employees’ performance? Do expectations influence work results?