By Steve Moran

I am reading a book that talks about “behavioral confirmation,” which is the idea that we get from people what we expect from them. It’s a fancy term for a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy or prediction. It turns out that when you expect a certain behavior from someone or a group of people, you are much more likely to get that behavior, either positive or negative.

You take three identical groups of students in terms of abilities, put a teacher in front of each one, and tell one teacher that their group is gifted, the next that their group is average, and the third that their students score below average. Each group will perform according to what the teacher believes about them.

Studies like this have been done with respect to neatness and kindness. Consistently, students live up to the expectations of their teachers.

Does it Work …?

The big question is whether or not the phenomenon works in real life. It is surprising, but there is little research on this topic in real life.

I did once call on a senior living CEO while selling emergency call systems, and when I described how caregivers would carry pagers to receive call notifications, he stopped the sales call right there. He told me his team members would just destroy the devices or lose them.

He was a guy who was getting what he expected.

He is not the only one. More times than I can count, I have heard from C-suite leaders about how unreliable their team members are.

And Yet …

I look at organizations like Arrow Senior Living where they have a complete lovefest going on between leaders and those working in the organization. It is a place where leaders expect amazing things from their team members and team members expect amazing things from their leaders. It makes everything work so much better.

Expect the Best

Your team members will get better instantaneously if you begin to see them as amazing, exceptional employees who you are lucky to have — people who want to work hard, who want to advance the best interests of the residents and the company.

You will be blown away.