65% of Workers Delusional About Own Performance Level

Hilarious quote from The Wall Street Journal:

“Marshall Goldsmith, founding director of the Alliance for Strategic Leadership, explains the folly. Because 85% of us think we’re in the top 25% of our peer group, at least six in 10 of us are obviously “delusional” about our abilities.

Naturally being in the top 25% of my ‘peer group’ (self-delusions aside), I am subjected to work with the 65% of workers whose “delusions of grandeur” greatly outweigh their actual contributions. I’m sure we’ve all had to deal with people like this at work: the self-important conversation dominator, the credit-hogger, the suck-up, etc.

It’s comforting to know that you’re not crazy when you feel a co-worker’s self-assessment doesn’t seem in line with reality.

And for those of you who are frustrated because these delusional people seem to be pulling the wool over management’s eyes, there is some hope. According to Professor Leanne Atwater, professor of management at Arizona State University West:

“over-raters “tend to make more money and get more promotions.” But they also have lower performance, she adds, and only get so far before their careers are derailed.”

That’s right—the cheaters get theirs in the end. So forget trying to play office politics—work on building your office karma instead.

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4 responses »

  1. This is a good point. I suppose we are finally growing up when we can take people for what they are. It’s harder to do than to say though.

    Another point is this. Work is multidimensional. We aren’t standing in one line. I am good at one thing; you are good at another. We aren’t replaceable by each either. A great team has a mix of people. When we are infuriated by our team mates it is a good sign – it means they have a perspective we don’t have. Learning to work with a mix of people, half of whom see as off the wall, is the real post-college learning curve. Some people take to it like ducks to water – that is their particularly contribution to the team. Some organizations have great management training and they step you through course after course building up your skills. And some of us are lucky to land great managers, coaches and mentors who teach as situations come up.

    I think it is a great point. I have been feeling quite tired today and have been racking my brains for a quotation about dialogue – work being about dialogue. Maybe I dreamed it. Your comment will do. Am I making the best of my conversation with people who I feel are in that 65%. Or maybe I should just take the weekend off and get back to work on Monday refreshed.

  2. Pingback: It’s Evaluation Season: Thoughts on my First Performance Review « Life Before Noon: A Millennial’s Manual

  3. Pingback: It’s Evaluation Season: Thoughts on my First Performance Review : Brazen Careerist - A Career Center for Generation Y

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