Poor leadership poses a health risk at work

November 2, 2009,

Perceived poor managerial leadership increases not only the amount of sick leave taken at a workplace, but also the risk of sickness amongst employees later on in life. The longer a person has had a "poorer" manager, the higher his or her risk of for example suffering a heart attack within a ten-year period, according to a new thesis from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

The recently submitted thesis is based on data from almost 20,000 employees in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and Italy, working in a range of fields, such as the forest or hotel industries. 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, and 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 researchers also looked at the effects of managerial leadership in relation to whether employees change jobs, quit due to , or become unemployed. One of the studies examined the correlation between how employees rate their managers' leadership and the risk of their developing serious later in life. They discovered that male residents of the Stockholm area ran a 25 per cent 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.

Another result presented in the thesis is that Swedish men and women who rated their managers as inspirational, positive and enthusiastic also reported less short-term sick leave. This correlation was independent of their self-rated general health.

"In several of the studies, we controlled for a number of conceivable competing causes of the negative health results, but failed to find anything," says Anna Nyberg, postgraduate at the Department of Public Health Sciences. "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."

Source: Karolinska Institutet (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Tobacco kills, no matter how it's smoked: study

February 20, 2018
(HealthDay)—Smokers who think cigars or pipes are somehow safer than cigarettes may want to think again, new research indicates.

Just a few minutes of light intensity exercise linked to lower death risk in older men

February 19, 2018
Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

February 16, 2018
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research published ...

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

paulthebassguy
not rated yet Nov 02, 2009
Good thing my old boss was demoted then haha.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.