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Greek Myths and Expectation Power

When talking incentives, a lot of leaders teeter between two sides of the management fence: Self-motivation versus Supervisor motivation.

Which is more powerful? Are people more inclined to be motivated by their own expectations or that of their leader?

Pygmalion (or Rosenthal) Effect – the power of other’s expectations. This theory states that people will perform in ways that are consistent with the expectations of their supervisors.

Galatea Effect – the power of self-expectations. If I believe I can do it, then I am more likely to succeed.

Based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with his ivory creation, Galatea, these theories show the phenomenon where higher expectations (those of our bosses, or ourselves) lead to better performance.

So, which one works better?

You’ll hear arguments for both camps. Everyone has an opinion about which is more powerful. So why can’t we use a combination of both?

As leaders, it’s our job to see the potential in our followers, not their current status. We believe that they can achieve more than they realize and we encourage them to fulfill those goals. It’s also our job to help them see themselves as victors. As individuals capable of incredible things.

The greater the confidence we show in their abilities, the greater confidence they will have in themselves.

We might not always be able to control how our team sees themselves, but we can do our best to display our encouragement (even in non-verbal cues). A nod, smile, thumbs-up, note of encouragement, and public praise can do wonders to boosting the confidence of our team members.



Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

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Getting Attention in a Noisy World

It’s pretty noisy out there.

Marketing experts say that most Americans are exposed to at least 4,000 ads every day. Organizations are continually competing for our attention. Brands are everywhere we look, shouting messages to our subconscious without us even noticing.

To adjust to the constant barrage of images and ads, most of us have become desensitized to them. We glaze over when commercials pop up on our screens, ignore banners tailored to us online, and hardly notice the t-shirts and caps promoting x-brand or y-organization streaming passed us on our commute.

In such a loud environment, how do you make your organization stand out as a fun and fulfilling place to volunteer?

1. Be true to your values. People are drawn to organizations who share their passions. If you are out there doing what you love, trust me…people will find you. Don’t get distracted by fads or gimmicks, when you focus on who you are and what you believe in, and the right people will naturally catch the vision and join. The added benefit is that you won’t attract people who aren’t interested. You’ll have an army of individuals who are just as excited about your mission as you are. 

2. Focus on your uniqueness. There’s a reason you’re in business. You’re good at what you do. Even if there are others similar to you in your community, you have a particular way of doing things. Focus on the areas that make you stand out from the crowd and highlight those strengths to your audience.

3. Be interactive. Social media gives us a direct channel to potential volunteers. It takes some time, but having a strong presence online will keep you at the front of people’s mind, which is precisely where we want to be. They might not be ready to serve now, but when they are ready, we want our organization to be the first place they think of serving. Interacting online is more than just posting pictures and inspiring messages. It’s important to build relationships. Liking follower’s posts, commenting, and even sending direct messages will help you authentically connect with your audience.

4. Show what you do. It’s not enough to tell people what your organization does. We’ve become desensitized to words, and it’s easy to drown out someone talking about a good cause. Visuals stimulate people. Videos, GIFs, and images are taking their place in modern communication. Research shows that video will represent more than 81% of all consumer Web traffic by 2021. There’s no better way to express your brand than by showing people exactly what it is you do.



Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

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A Leader’s Guide to Building Trust

Leaders will need to prove themselves trustworthy before workers will feel comfortable enough to allow themselves to be led. The only way to establish trust is through time. The only problem is, time is something that leaders (especially young leaders, with no proven track record) feel they can't afford.

But as anxious as we may be to develop fantastic relationships with our followers and create the perfect team right away, the truth is great leader-follower relationships usually are years in the making.

Trust is difficult to gain but incredibly easy to lose. Here are four ways to speed up the trust-building process with your followers.

1. Showing Consistency.

It’s a steady trend over time. It’s repetitive actions. You make a promise, and you follow through. You make a promise, and you follow through. You make a promise, and you follow through. Every time. The same pattern. Until it is expected. Assumed. Until there is no doubt that your word is always supported by your actions.

2. Meeting Expectations.

In every relationship, there is some level of expectation. Whether realistic or not, these expectations are there. When we’re working to build trust with followers, we have to be ready to meet the anticipation of our followers. In the leader-follower relationship, each expects the other to perform their role (whether those expectations are vocalized or not) without being monitored. Where most people run into trouble, is when those expectations are assumed by one party and not the other. Open communication is vital to making sure all expectations are met.

3. Removing Uncertainty.

The enemy of trust is ambiguity. When people are unsure, it seeds fear which in turn leads to doubt. The best way to keep building a relationship of trust early on with followers is to remove their uncertainties. This means paying attention. Leaders should always be listening (and paying attention!) to conversations with followers to catch wind of any doubts. It's not enough to identify concerns; you need to address them.

4. Living Authentically.

The world is changing. Gone are the days of leaders pretending to be perfect or having all the answers. Followers prefer real to super. In fact, research shows that people are more attracted to competent leaders after they make a little blunder. In psychology, this is called the Pratfall Effect, and it just goes to show that people look for ways to connect. They’re looking for leaders who are relatable. Real. A hero they can look up to because although the leader has shown herself to be fallible, she has learned to overcome. Authentic leaders build trust.

Time is a necessary ingredient in any relationship, but with these four tricks, you'll be on the fast-track to connecting with your followers.

As a leader, are you being intentional in building trust with your followers BEFORE you expect them to follow you?


Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel

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Embracing Conflict

If you’re like me, you tend to shy away from conflict. In fact, I used to try to ignore it altogether. Distracting people who were mad became an art form for this peacemaking middle child.

I finally learned the positive power of conflict when I did something that was completely unnatural for me…I embraced it.

Here I was facilitating a group discussion that suddenly took an aggressive turn. One of the participants had been interrupted several times by another group member, and she finally snapped. The two sat facing off and then BOOM. An explosion of what I can only assume were pent up emotions from several weeks of working together.

The tension-filled moment made me feel a mixture of dread and worried energy, as my mind quickly ran through different ways to diffuse the situation.

As I nervously looked around the room, I saw similar expressions of discomfort. The friendly eye-contact that had been the norm so far in our little meeting place abruptly ceased as everyone in the room suddenly found their fingernails, notebook, or watch of vast interest.

The tension was so thick in the office it was palatable.

I took a deep breath and went against every natural instinct in my body. Instead of ignoring the pressure, I leaned into it. “This is interesting, you guys. Let’s keep going with this.”

The next twenty minutes were extremely uncomfortable…and remarkably productive.

Here’s why conflict can be healthy for your team:

It highlights underlying dangers. Conflict is typically a symptom, and if you ignore it, you will never find the disease at its root. Small spats of discord are usually red flags that there is something else going on. You may need to dig a little, but if you ask the right questions, you might find that a team member is going through a difficult situation at home, or perhaps that someone is in the wrong position.

Tension is necessary for growth. You don’t get taller without some growing pains; you can’t start a fire without a little friction. It’s all part of the growing process. What should really worry us is when there are no issues, no disagreements, no opposing forces. That’s a sign of stagnation and may mean that we are missing out on innovation, creativity, and chances to branch out.

It’s an opportunity for team members to bond. Nothing makes or breaks relationships like a little disagreement. Typically, working through disputes brings people closer together and ends up strengthening the team bond as they learn to work through differences.

When I talk about embracing conflict, I don’t mean to create drama, pit team members against each other, or incite unnecessary emotional outbursts. Instead, I’m suggesting that when conflict shows up in our organization, we should take it for what it truly is, an opportunity to grow and create a healthy, vibrant team.

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