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Is your boss making you ill?

Posted by Meg Bear on January 16, 2009


boss1 Was reading my AARP magazine (that I, of course, only read for the articles) and found an interesting article that suggested that a bad boss can give you heart attack.

This research was out of Sweden, published in the Journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  

…responding to a scored series of statements such as “I have a clear picture of what my boss expects of me” and “I am praised by my boss if I have done something good.”

A lower score for the boss translated into a higher risk for the employee. And the longer the employee worked there, the more the risk rose.

Ick!  Sadly I really didn’t find this surprising.  I think that we all know what kind of stress a bad work situation can have, seems logical that, in the worst cases it could lead to physical manifestation. 

Job fit is not just about being in the right job for your skills, it is also about having the right match with your boss.  Figuring out how to manage your boss is something that requires investment .  Do you know the work style of your boss?  Do you know how S/he prefers to be status-ed?  Is S/he a high-touch or low-touch person?  Is there something you can do to make the work relationship more harmonious? 

Often, a bad boss situation can be fixed with better communication, clear goal definition and concentrated effort.   You owe it to yourself to make the effort. 

BUT if the fit is just not there you should be proactive about finding yourself a different manager.  

Since your career is your responsibility, you must resolve the situation.  Not just for your career advancement but also for your health!  As the study proved, these problems do not get better over time, they only get worse.

4 Responses to “Is your boss making you ill?”

  1. Ken Klaus said

    Meg, I couldn’t agree more. Speaking from the employee side of the boss/worker relationship there is nothing more frustrating, de-motivating, demoralizing or a greater source of stress than a bad relationship with your boss. Conversely, having a boss who is supportive, encouraging and above all trustworthy helps me stay focused and energized, no matter how much stress I’m under because of my job, the economy, or my personal life. How I’m feeling right now, you ask? All things considered, pretty focused and energized! =)
    Ken

  2. Meg Bear said

    @Ken I’m sure I speak for everyone in your management chain when I say “flattery will get you everywhere!” [grin]

  3. Meg, I just want to say I am also a new fan of AARP magazine — I now get Grandma’s copy. It has surprisingly good articles but I was thinking the font would’ve been bigger.

  4. Meg Bear said

    @Kathi I think the font issue mostly hits those of us in the “middle”. When we actually qualify for AARP we will be wearing glasses full time and the font problem will all be “fixed”.

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