Can You Survive Working with Humans?
A Self-Assessment Quiz

Rate yourself from 0 to 4 on each question based upon how well you think you do in each area; then total your score. Answer as honestly as you can, since honesty and trust are essential in working well with others. If you don’t answer honestly—well, that’s an immediate flunk, though only you will know. See the scoring key at the end to see how well you’ve done.


Office Politics

______ 1. I know how to be diplomatic and tactful, and when to be forceful and when to retreat.
______ 2. I have a good sense of the different players in the office game, their relative power, and how to play with them.


______ 3. I’m ready to change and adapt myself to the times, including changing in response to the needs and demands in the workplace.
______ 4. I know what not to change, such as key principles, values, and promises, and I don’t change those.


______ 5. I’m aware of the differences in personality, values, interests, and cultures of different people, and I adapt the way I relate to them accordingly.
______ 6. I like to be helpful and supportive of others, and consider their interests and needs as well as my own.


______ 7. I make it a point to communicate clearly, concisely, say what I mean, and check that others have gotten my message.
______ 8. I make it a point to listen and understand what others say, and I ask for clarification when I’m not sure.

Solving Problems

______ 9. When I solve problems, I consider other points of view as well as my own.
______ 10. I am good at solving problems, since I prioritize and consider the big picture and tactics as appropriate. I also seek to understand the problem fully before seeking a solution.

Making Choices and Decisions

______ 11. In making an important decision, I take some time to reflect on various factors, such as past and current circumstances and what may be realistic, besides what I want.
______ 12. I pay attention to changes in the workplace and in everyday occurrences to help me make choices.

Backing Down and Letting Go

______ 13. I’m ready to back down in order to tone down or end a conflict.
______ 14. I know when it’s time to let go and move on.

Resolving Conflicts

______ 15. I look for the facts and seek to understand what’s going on, before I decide what to do and how to take action in a conflict.
______ 16. I try to cool down the emotions first, seek to understand the situation and various approaches, and use my intuition to come up with different alternatives and decide what to do.

Difficult Situations and People

______ 17. No one considers me a difficult person, because I work well with others and adapt well to different people and situations.
______ 18. When other people are being difficult, I try to understand them, so I can better communicate with them and work out any problems.

Ethical Dilemmas

______ 19. I believe that honesty is the best policy; so I’m open and honest, which includes admitting my mistakes.
______ 20. I try to recognize where others are coming from ethically in their attitudes, values, orientation, and styles, so I can better understand and deal with them when ethical issues arise.


______ 21. I keep the confidences others tell me, and if someone thinks I didn’t, I immediately discuss their concerns with them.
______ 22. I take responsibility and keep my promises.


______ 23. I’m good at visualizing to understand what’s going on, consider different possibilities, set goals, and make plans.
______ 24. I take into consideration assumptions, personalities, and politics in deciding on a course of action, in addition to using other methods.


______ 25. I know nobody’s perfect, and I have answered the previous questions as honestly as I can.

_____ Total Score


Think of this like a flight report as you fly through the sometimes friendly and not so friendly work skies. It’s a guide to how well you will survive when you work with all types of humans. Use the results to help you improve where you are weak, so you don’t merely survive but thrive.

90+ = Are you really sure? You could be cheating or delusional. If not, great job. You’re a Master Pilot and really know how to survive and really thrive with all kinds of humans.

80–89 = High flyer and thriver. You are great to work with most of the time.

70–79 = Some clouds and turbulence ahead. You can expect problems, but will usually recover and pull through. So you’ve got a fairly good chance of survival.

60–69 = Stormy weather. Things aren’t looking good. Consider returning to recheck your flight plan and look for another way. Your chances of surviving are definitely iffy.

40–59 = Mayday-Mayday. You really need help. Seek the help you need now before you fall from the air. You may not survive or may sustain serious injuries when you fall.

0–39 = Crack-up. Uh-oh. You’re in deep disaster and are already heading for a crash unless you make some quick corrections now. Your survival chances are slim to none, unless you do something to pull out of your tailspin fast.

Adapted from A Survival Guide for Working with Humans: Dealing with Whiners, Back-Stabbers, Know-It-Alls, and Other Difficult People (AMACOM; February 24, 2004) by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D.

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