Poor managers increase risk of illness for staff

Poor management and leadership can not only increase the amount of sick leave employees take from work, but also the risk of sickness among employees later on in life, a Swedish study has ­concluded.

The longer a person has had a ‘poorer’ manager, the higher his or her risk, for example, of suffering a heart attack within a 10-year period, the research from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet has suggested.

The research looked at almost 20,000 employees in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and Italy, working in a range of industries. It compared levels of self-rated stress, health, sick leave and emotional exhaustion with how subjects perceived their managers’ leadership.

The researchers also looked at the effects of managerial leadership in relation to whether employees changed jobs, quit because of poor health, or became unemployed.

Male residents of the Stockholm area ran a 25% greater risk of suffering myocardial infarction during the 10-year follow-up period if they had expressed displeasure with their managers at the start of the study, the study found.

Moreover, the level of risk increased more sharply with the duration of employment for subjects who reported ‘poorer’ leadership.

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