(NaturalNews) When someone says that his or her boss 'will be the death of me', her or she could mean it more than just figuratively. According to recent research conducted in Sweden, employees' risk of getting angina, heart attack and even death were higher when they felt that their bosses were incompetent.
Details of Study
Published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Nov 2008, the study team used data on over 3,100 Swedish men who were part of the Work, Lipids, and Fibrinogen Stockholm study. The men were aged 19 to 70 and the researchers checked their hearts while they were at work between 1992 and 1995. This information was then tallied with hospital records for occurrences of heart issues and death till 2003.
Findings of Study
From the 74 cases of heart attack, angina or death from heart disease which took place during the follow-up period, the study team found that, the more competent men felt their bosses were, the lower their risk of getting heart disease. On the flip side, men who felt that their bosses were incompetent had higher risk of developing heart disease. Significantly, the risk got higher the longer someone worked for such a boss.
"This study is the first to provide evidence of a prospective, dose-response relationship between concrete managerial behaviors and objectively assessed heart disease among employees," said Anna Nyberg from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Karolinska Institute, and Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the leader of the study.
"Enhancing managers' skills - regarding providing employees with information, support, power in relation to responsibilities, clarity in expectations, and feedback - could have important stress-reducing effects on employees and enhance the health at workplaces," added Nyberg.
Defining and Producing Competent Bosses
What are some key attributes of a supposed good boss? According to the study team, these include:
* communicating and giving feedback; * consideration for employees; * delegating authority; * including people in decision-making; * managing change; * setting clear goals; and * setting realistic expectations.
"Stress-related diseases are a large problem in our society. The workplace is one area in which stress occurs and thus can be reduced. This study suggests that managers have key roles in determining stress-related factors at work, which means that psychosocial work environment interventions could be directed towards managers in order to reduce stress in employees," Nyberg said.
One thing we must note is that, despite other studies having suggested that stressful work environments can increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions, the cause-and-effect link has not been well-established. "However, none of these studies have demonstrated causality, and it remains entirely unknown whether making these types of changes in the workplace would produce favorable effects on cardiovascular health," said Dr Gregg C Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Intuitively, though, the findings of this study do make some sense. After all, unhappy environments and relationships can be as toxic and bad for health as the worst foods or harmful chemicals. In any case, it makes a lot of sense to work for a boss whom one thinks is competent, not just for health, but also for career and personal development, growth and fulfillment.
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