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It’s Easy Being King -

Stashed in: Leadership!, Influence!, Stress, Power!

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Clearly, leaders are less stressed than nonleaders. But do leaders, as a group, enjoy equally low stress levels? Or might differences in rank and power among leaders matter?

To answer this question, we recruited a new sample of leaders. This time, rather than compare leaders to nonleaders, we looked at gradations in power and rank within the group. We found that leaders in more powerful, higher-ranking positions exhibited lower cortisol levels and less anxiety than lower-ranking leaders. Notably, we also found that the lower stress of higher-ranking leaders was explained by their greater sense of control.

When it comes to leadership, it is perceived control and predictability, not simply how busy one is, that matter for stress. High-powered leaders typically have more control, or at least believe that they have more control, so their levels of cortisol and stress are usually just fine. The management gurus and life coaches peddling their stress-reducing strategies to chief executives might do more good by serving those on the lower rungs of the hierarchy.

It makes sense that more feeling of control means less stress.

It sucks that most people don't get to feel as in control.

So much for the saying, "Heavy is the head that wears the crown."

Pincus sleeps well, fear not.

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