Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Forget about the character from Lord of the Rings (That's a different spelling anyway). Depending on your source, Golem is from a Polish fable or Jewish folklore. He's either unpleasant, an automaton, stupid or clumsy - not the kind of guy you'd want running the social club, let alone your life.

It might be useful to keep him in mind as you develop your resilience.

What is The Golem Effect?

The Golem Effect is when our bosses or teachers don't believe in us and our performance suffers as we pick up the message. It's the opposite of the Pygmalion Effect.

Academics debate how strong the effect is and how much we can interpret from the few experiments. If you recognise its effect on you, that's all that matters.

It's easy to be influenced by other people's negative expectations. When things go wrong there's usually someone who will help us confirm that it's only to be expected of someone with no talent, no ability, from our minority, our social background - and every other prejudice that comes to mind. They may not be our bosses or teachers and they may do it without knowing. Sometimes it's done with humour: 'Don't give up your day job!'

Golem and developing your resilience

So what's the solution?

It's taking charge of our own lives. It's easier said than done, but there's no other way.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that other people's expectations don't matter. Our own do, and we can choose to believe in our potential. When we have a setback, it's time to see what we can learn from the experience and start again. That's resilience.

Releasing ourselves from other people's expectations and approval is liberation. Let's keep Golem out of it.

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph's enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

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