London: Bosses experience less anxiety than their underlings, a new study has found. According to the US study of more than 200 leaders and non-leaders, the more senior the manager, the less tension they feel.

For the study, academics from Harvard and Stanford university’s assessed the difference in stress levels between community members and government and military leaders enrolled in a Harvard executive education course.

Stress was measured by physical markers, such as the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in participants' saliva, as well as psychological indicators, which were based on participant's anxiety reports.

On both measures, leaders experienced less anxiety and had lower levels of cortisol than those below them in the workplace, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity.

A second study only of leaders found that the more senior the supervisor the less the worry, with lower cortisol levels the higher the rank.

Seniority was based on the number of a manager's subordinates and direct reports as well as their authority over workers under them.

The researchers attributed leaders' lower stress to their positions, which typically afforded them a greater sense of control.

"Holding a leadership role boosts one's sense of control, a psychological resource known to have a stress-buffering effect," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Jennifer Lerner, one of the researchers, as saying.

Specifically, the study found that managers with more subordinates and more authority over those subordinates felt a greater sense of control.

"Perhaps this is because ascension to a high-ranking position encourages one to delegate the day-to-day management of subordinated to lower-ranking officials," Dr Lerner added. The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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