It is quite easy to understand that a deficient leadership can stress out the subordinates and leave them unhappy with their job. However, several studies have surfaced in the last years proving that it is not as simple and inconsequential as it looks. In fact, a bad boss can make you sick.
A bad boss can make you sick, says science
A 2011 study concluded that employees working in high-stress environments have 46% more probability of requiring health care for a variety of issues. Stress can increase blood pressure, which can be fatal to people with cardiovascular diseases, it affects sleep, the nervous system and even the mental well-being, thus having the potential endangering lives in more than one way.
These numbers become more worrisome when a 2015 report by the American Psychological Association revealed that 75% of American reported to feel at least one symptom of stress every month and 60% admitted that work was their main source of stress.
The most common symptoms were irritability/anger, nervousness/anxiety, lack of motivation/interest, feeling overwhelmed, depression/sadness. Besides affecting their health, 41% of the married individuals reported that stress was also affecting their relationship with their spouses and family.
What does this have to do with the fact that a bad boss can make you sick? Because they are the main cause of work stress. In a 2009 Swedish study, the researchers first made the connection between the rate of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease in employees and the individuals who complained about their boss inefficiency the most.
How to survive a bad boss?
When the boss is the problem, it can be quite hard. There is no one you can talk to try to fix the situation in the most civilized and calm way, but that doesn’t mean that quitting or a direct conflict are the only solutions.
It’s easier said than done, but it’s better to try at least than to commit yourself to risk your health.
Try to switch within the company
If you can’t or don’t want to change jobs, try to look for an opportunity to switch positions within your company.
A new team and new responsibilities will be a good change and you can stand out with your work as you will have privileged knowledge about the workings of other sectors of the company.
Be the example
Be the person you wish your boss was to you and your colleagues. It may look pointless since you’re leading from behind, but it can have a big impact.
Employees and bosses behavior are directly affected by one another. If the highest rankings perceive they are working with a friendly, hardworking and dynamic team they tend to become better leaders themselves even they didn’t start with the right foot.
Keep your standards high
It is hard to keep your motivation or interest high when you feel your work and efforts are not valued.
However, lowering your standards won’t make the situation any easier. If anything, it can worsen the problem as the boss you already don’t respect starts to call you out on your mistakes or delays.
Try not to slack off and keep your standards high. If you show results it will be harder for him or her to criticize you and it will also look better on your resume if you decide to look for other opportunities.
Always look on the bright side of light
Even if your bad boss can make you sick, try to look for positives in his or her actions. Most often than not, high rankings believe to be doing a good job and that they are being fair to their employees. It’s not that they want to be bad, they just think they are good. Perhaps they are the result of bad bosses themselves.
With that in mind, try to look for the positives in their actions. Understand they are maybe being rough because they care about the results and the company’s well-being but are expressing it in all the wrong ways. Value their commitment if they are micromanaging everything. They could be by the pool having a cocktail, but they want to make sure everything comes out right.
Seeing the positives won’t solve the problem, but it might help you reduce your stress levels.