Who’s the least stressed person at your company? It’s probably your boss, even though they have the most responsibility and biggest workload! That’s according to a new study that found that executives are much more relaxed compared to workers lower on the totem pole. And it all boils down to control.
Harvard University researchers studied 200 volunteers evenly divided between executives, and entry or mid-level workers. They answered questionnaires like, “How many people work below you?” “What are your responsibilities?” And “Does your job stress you out?” Researchers also measured their level of the stress hormone cortisol.
The result? The most calm, and least stressed and anxious workers were the executives. And they had rock bottom cortisol levels to back it up.
Meanwhile, entry and mid-level workers reported feeling the most stressed and anxious, and also had high levels of cortisol hormones.
So, why are most bosses relaxed, even though they have the most responsibilities on their shoulders? Researchers say that executives have one thing that other workers don’t, control.
And having control is an antidote to stress.
Essentially, execs know they probably won’t get canned, because their position is crucial to the company. They can also work without someone looking over their shoulder, and have more leeway in making decisions. And those are all proven factors that make people happy on the job.
Meanwhile, lower-level workers don’t have control over their job, and are more likely to live with chronic stress.
The only time executives had higher stress levels? If their leadership position was being challenged.