I agree with Bill Fotsch to a degree regarding the notion of the ‘Pygmalion Effect.’
Indeed to an extent that has proven to work in many business and management examples (as evidenced in some comments above).
My departure from the whole concept of “If your boss thinks you are awesome, it will make you more awesome” is laid out below:
1. The ‘awesome’ candidate needs to have the basic educational, experiential, relational, communication and teaming skills, with adequate and demonstrated scope for further development.
What I mean is that just because Eliza Doolittle was able to parrot (in a non-cockney accent) “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain” did not guarantee that she automatically had the sophistication, social graces or intellect to survive more than momentarily in any self respecting ‘Society setting.’ And thereby hangs the one flaw that I am always confronted with every time there is reference to the ‘Pygmalion effect.’
We would run a similar risk if we are constantly promoting/praising individuals without verifying and validating that they do indeed have the raw material for future development and growth.
2. The leadership needs to undertake to groom their ‘Awesome’ candidates in addition to just telling them that they are awesome. There is a tendency to keep repeating (to one’s team) the mantra “It’s all good” whenever they ask for feedback…however come appraisal time of year and the long knives get drawn and the feedback suddenly seems to be only negative?
3. The Organization needs to have a balanced feedback process in place that clearly defines guidelines for giving feedback, criteria for a rating system as well as a mechanism for the employee to challenge or discuss/escalate particularly ‘hard’ or excessively negative feedback. This will serve as a counterbalance to the extremes of tough raters versus easy raters. At the end of the day – no one should feel that they are lucky or unlucky to be serving under their respective manager – giving and receiving feedback should never be about luck?
4. If a manager truly believes that their candidate is Awesome and is willing to consistently go on record and say so, they should have no problem in promoting the awesome candidates to better, more responsible roles. The challenge in today’s work environment is that there is no guarantee with regard to how the Organization and the business priorities may change literally from day to day. Therefore to constantly rate an individual as awesome needs to be followed up with a suitable and timely recognition or career promotion…without which any repetition of the ‘you are awesome’ mantra will soon be seen for what it is…just more, hollow, managementspeak!