A great forwarded piece – thanks Andrew.
The author talks about an experiment where people wore hats (visible to all but the wearer) with a personal characteristic, either bad or good (creative, whiner). Notwithstanding that everyone knew that these labels had been assigned arbitrarily, people started to be treated in accordance with their label.
He then goes on to talk about his own experience of getting an unfair label, and being unable to shake it. Though this is the classic “halo” effect, this piece lays out the ripple effects more powerfully than many discussions and is worth a read.
Where this piece is a bit thin and I can always use more help is how to make the delicate jump from a legitimate observation that some behaviours recur and need support to change without forming personal characterizations and putting people on the defensive.