Analyze This

By Kerry J. Sulkowicz
Featured on Business Week

A thought for this performance-review season: What if the usual evaluation “metrics” were replaced by categories measuring psychological health? Here’s my semi-serious attempt. Of course, scoring low (meaning best) on this hypothetical scale wouldn’t necessarily bring a bonus. No one ever said emotional maturity and corporate success go hand in hand.

Low. Shares credit for successes; easily admits errors; gets pleasure from work; good listener.

Medium. Transparently uninterested in others (“bad with names”); wounded by constructive criticism.

High. Incapable of empathy, can’t tolerate being on a team; views self as unusually gifted (“should be CEO”); no one “gets” him.

Low. Sees feedback as a chance to learn; passionate about work but has other pursuits; would rather succeed on a project than prove a point.

Medium. Turns feedback into self-flagellation; reflexively blames self when things go wrong; takes pride in sacrifice; refuses all help; has months of unused vacation time; gets sick a lot.

High. Consistently underdelivers, self-destructively missing deadlines; puts worst foot forward with authority figures; prone to burnout, deep funks.

Low. Views figures and facts as necessary but not sufficient to deep understanding of business; thrives on complexity, ambiguity, and newness; shakes hands without envisioning communicable diseases.

Medium. Upset if desk and keyboard are not surgically clean; cheap when chipping in for birthday gifts; expounds on subjects in maddening detail; overaggressive labeling of “her” food in office refrigerator (jumbo marker pen, exclamation marks).

High. Hoards information meant to be shared; stews in anger, then explodes; anxious and nasty when dealing with uncertainty; stores telephone in locked desk drawer overnight.