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What's The Leading Cause Of Stress At Work? Yep, You Guessed It...


Employees often spend considerable time fighting off stress.

I wrote a couple of posts lately on the rise of workplace stress and some ways to cope with it. But when it came to social media feedback I received on these topics, there was one element that received far more attention than any other.

It involved a couple of stats from a recent Korn Ferry study discussing the single largest source of workplace stress. It was… yep, I suspect you guessed it… bosses, management, leadership… however you want to describe it. 35% of respondents named their boss as their single biggest stressor, and 80% felt that a leadership change “such as a new direct manager or someone higher up the organizational chart” spiked stress levels.

Was I surprised by this finding? About as surprised as if you told me the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. In other words, nope, not at all.

A difference maker

Anyone who’s spent time studying or thinking about management knows the importance of the core manager-employee relationship. It’s a difference maker. As I wrote on the first page of the Introduction to my book, The Type B Manager, “A good relationship with a manager makes a bad job bearable, but a bad relationship with a manager can make a good job a misery.” It’s that critical.

You can’t overestimate it. Your boss affects your livelihood and has a great deal of influence over you, often on a day-to-day basis. How that influence is wielded shapes your experience of work.

Whether you’re highly stressed, or hardly stressed at all.

What steps can you take?

So what’s an employee to do about a stressful boss? There often aren’t simple answ