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Why Leadership Matters: How Your Boss Impacts Your Health

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Summary: Studies have found reduced employee happiness and increased risk of heart disease and overall poor health due to bad bosses.

- Employees that feel undervalued and unsupported are likely to be less happy and healthy, according to recent research.

A recent study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that the degree employees perceive they are being supported or not supported by their bosses can impact their sense of happiness. To put it simply, bosses that support their employees and facilitate getting work done can contribute to their happiness and ones that don't support their employees can decrease employee happiness.

While this observation probably seems fairly obvious to most workers, in a different research project it was found that 95% of managers surveyed did not understand the most important factor for employee engagement was perceived progress in getting their work done and moving towards other goals, like getting a pay increase or promotion. Because almost all of these managers did not understand this very important concept,  it is likely they were not supporting their employees in the best way.

In a different study,  3,000 employed Swedish men between 18 and 70 years of age were tracked for almost a decade. During the study 74 cases of fatal and non-fatal heart disease incidents took place. There was a 25% greater risk for employees who indicated they believed their managers were the least competent. Competence and incompetence in managers was defined by the study as how well they communicated, set goals and gave employee feedback.

For employees who had been four years or more with such a boss, there was a 64% greater heart disease risk. When employees feel undervalued and unsupported in their work, they tend to resort to activities like smoking, drinking alcohol and overeating to cope with the stress.

Another study of bad bosses found the negative impact they have on their employees can even have an effect on their families. Stress caused at work can spill over into the employee's romantic relationship or marriage causing tension and reduce constructive interaction.


Delivering Happiness is a Coach-Sultancy [hybrid coaching+consulting] on a mission to improve workplace culture and make happy work. Schedule an initial consult with us today to discover how to make the case for a thriving workplace today. 

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About Jake Richardson

Jake Richardson

Jake Richardson is a frequent blogger & outdoor enthusiast.

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