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17 Oct. 2012 | Comments (0)
Whenever I'm swamped with work, I just think about my boss. His workload, his responsibilities — he must be stressed out of his gourd. I'm surprised he hasn't gone gray yet. And so it goes. Higher rank leads to more stress. Or so you’d think. According to this counter-intuitive study outlined in the Harvard Gazette, my boss should be sending more sympathy my way. In fact, leaders seem to be managing just fine in the stress department. It’s the rest of us who should be worried.
The leaders who took part in the study had much lower levels of stress hormones, and they also reported feeling far less anxiety than those in non-leadership roles. The researchers chock up their findings to control. Leaders — at least those who work in stable and supportive environments — have a greater say about their work and schedule, while those of us in non-leadership roles don’t have that luxury. This could explain the renegade gray hairs I found on my chin stubble this morning.
Compared to their Western counterparts, Indian workers may show too much respect to their bosses, writes Professor Michael Morris — and this deference to authority can stunt creativity. In order to reach breakthroughs, bosses need pushback. So some Indian companies have attempted to loosen the social norms that foster the reverence from employees. With an aim toward making its bosses seem less distinguished, companies have posted the performance reviews of their leaders for all eyes to see. Some have even asked management teams to perform Bollywood skits during meetings. That’s my favorite. We should adopt that one stateside.
Zhang Hue may be the Henry Ford of skyscrapers. Hue's company built a 30 story building half the time it takes to put out a good magazine — and they did it in a factory. His team built 90% of the structure indoors and then assembled it on site like an Ikea desk. Hue’s ways are speedy, no doubt, but they’re also safer and cheaper than more traditional methods. They also produce less waste and use less water. So Hue's breaking new ground on the sustainability front. But for his ideas and methods to spread, Lauren Hilger argues, he really needs to improve the aesthetics of his buildings. Frank Lloyd Wright wouldn't approve.
This blog first appeared on Harvard Business Review on 09/27/2012.
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