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Cardio-Vascular Stress

Poor Leadership at Work Can Make Employees Sick

14 years, 6 months ago

9773  0
Posted on Nov 17, 2009, 6 a.m.

Swedish study finds that people who are dissatisfied with their workplace bosses not only take more sick leave, but are at increased risk of suffering a heart attack.

Anna Nyberg, from Karolinska Institute (Sweden), and colleagues analyzed data from almost 20,000 employees in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and Italy, working in a range of fields; some of the studies also included a representative selection of Sweden's entire working population and industries in the Stockholm region. The researchers compared levels of self-rated stress, health, sick leave and emotional exhaustion with how subjects perceived their managers' leadership in terms of certain positive and negative criteria, such as inspirational, supportive and good at delegating or authoritarian, dishonest and distant. The team also looked at the effects of managerial leadership in relation to whether employees change jobs, quit due to poor health, or become unemployed. They found that male residents of the Stockholm area ran a 25% greater risk of suffering myocardial infarction during the ten-year follow-up period if they had expressed displeasure with their managers at the start of the study. Moreover, the level of risk increased more sharply with time of employment for subjects that reported "poorer" leadership. Additionally, the researchers determined that Swedish men and women who rated their managers as inspirational, positive and enthusiastic also reported less short-term sick leave, with the correlation being independent of self-rated general health.  The team states that: "The bottom line is that our results show that there's a relationship between how employees find their managers and how they feel, physically and mentally, and not just while at work but also later in life."

“Poor leadership poses a health risk at work,” Karolinska Institute, 2 November 2009; http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=130&a=85947&l=en&newsdep=130.

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