Study: Inspirational leaders are making you sick?

Study: Inspirational leaders are making you sick?
(Image: Screen grab of BuzzFeed video, YouTube)

[Ed. – I don’t know.  It’s kind of hard to find either the sense or the agenda in this.  It sounds like we’re talking about leaders who overwork their people, rather than necessarily inspirational leaders. Some of the most inspirational leaders are the ones who run around telling people to get out of there and go home to their families in the evening.]

What researchers found was surprising; “transformational” leaders who inspire their employees and team members to perform better at work increase the risk of health complications and absence due to illness.

Professor Karina Nielsen, who led the study, said, “It is possible that high performance expectations pose a risk to both healthy and vulnerable employees and the motivational aspects of transformational leadership may backfire… Such leaders express values to perform above and beyond the call of duty possibly at the expense of employees’ health because they have a self-interest in demonstrating low sickness absence rates in their work groups.”

In other words, inspirational leaders have a handful of effects, all of which indirectly and negatively influence the health of their employees:

  • Inspirational leaders push for longer hours. Transformational leaders need their team members to work hard to make change happen. Accordingly, they often demand longer hours and more commitment to work.

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