Leaders often think that visualizing future success will help to motivate their employees. By asking employees to think about what the future could bring (promotions, bonuses, etc.), managers think that their employees will reciprocate with productivity. Though this makes sense in theory, it does not work in practice.
The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology recently released a study done by NYU that concludes visualization and fantasizing about the future does nothing but drain your energy. Energy that would otherwise be spent on concrete actions to achieve success is wasted on the imagination.
The Washington Post notes that positive reinforcement is still a viable management strategy, but that this positive support should be about current work and skills instead of abstract and idealized outcomes.