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Leadership & Stress

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So, you want the promotion, but don't want the stress that you think comes with a supervisory or managerial position.  Well, would you believe it if I tell you, a move up may lessen your stress?

New research suggests that leaders suffer from less stress than people in less powerful positions.

This doesn't prove that leadership is a natural stress reliever; however,  experts say it's possible that people with lower anxiety levels are better able to tolerate being at the top of the ladder.

Harvard University researchers survey 148 leaders and 65 non-leaders about their stress levels and tested their levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to anxiety.

There were a variety of leaders in finance, real estate and administrative services.

The researchers found that the leaders reported being less stressed than the non-leaders. The leaders' cortisol levels were 27 percent lower than the non-leaders cortisol levels.

The leaders were more likely to be male and wealthier.  They exercised more, consumed more caffeine, smoked less and woke up earlier, 6 a.m. on average versus 7:30 a.m. for non-leaders.

The study notes the importance of gaining leadership and a sense of control that would buffer against stress.

The study appears in the online journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.