Leaders with low self-esteem are likely to cause ‘toxic’ stress at work, research suggests

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There is ample evidence that stress is the leading cause of common and deadly diseases, including heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, cancer, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, insomnia, memory loss, and premature aging. .

But how much of a role does “toxic” leadership play in workplace stress, and what are the signs of a toxic leader?

Recent figures have shown that three-fifths of the world’s workers say their work affects their mental health more than anything else.

Backed by 40 years of research, wellness expert Professor Simon L. Dolan Ph.D. says that leaders with low self-esteem are more likely to transmit stress to their teams.

“The stakes for leadership have always been high,” says Professor Dolan, “but knowing you’re affecting people’s mental health is cause for leaders to take stock and ensure they’re doing their best to be the best they can be. them and to be their most positive selves. effects on people”.

Toxic at the top

Almost every working adult will have experienced a bad boss at some point in their professional career. But at what point does a bad boss become a truly toxic leader, and what can you do about it?

Professor Dolan, a respected human resource scholar, has conducted decades of research to create De-Stress at Work. The guide is designed to help people understand if their manager or leader is affecting their mental health and what they can do to address it.

“Leadership can make or break an organization,” argues Professor Dolan, “with good leaders motivating teams to be creative and productive. But on the other side of the coin, a bad leader can discourage teams, cause low morale and affect teams can be devastating.”

After extensive research, Professor Dolan suggests the main characteristics to identify a toxic leader are those who: are jealous of their team’s success; they constantly worry about competition or “enemies” in the workplace. they often take credit for other people’s work. they constantly compare themselves to others. they believe that their self-esteem is determined solely by their latest results.

“Whether knowingly or not, a toxic leader is one who abuses their power and violates trust to satisfy their own ego,” Professor Dolan continues.

The truth about leadership

Leadership takes hard work and there can be a stereotype of leaders as having almost superhuman qualities of endurance and strength, argues Professor Dolan.

He says, “This can be really harmful, because they have to hide their emotions even when they’re under enormous pressure. Pretending to be superhuman takes a lot of damage on the mind and body – really the key is to be realistic about your strengths A leader must be able to proactively manage his emotions well enough to project calm and reason to his teams.”

To do this, they need to equip themselves with emotional regulation tools, suggests Professor Dolan.

In “De-Stress At Work,” Professor Dolan offers practical solutions for dealing with workplace stress at both the individual and organizational levels, from best-practice communication methods for companies to individual relaxation techniques for employees.

“However, although leaders are expected to be confident, it is important not to confuse this with overconfidence,” says Professor Dolan. “A great leader must respect, support and nurture growth – not just someone who is confident.”

It also highlights the importance of validation – leaders who offer recognition for a job well done can provide an essential source of people’s perception of psychological success and self-esteem.

Who is susceptible?

Professor Dolan argues that specific inherited traits, early life experience and cognitive predispositions make individuals susceptible to the effects of stressors.

He explains, “There are many factors that contribute to a toxic personality, including a compulsive need to demonstrate their worth to others, but mostly due to a lack of deep-rooted self-esteem. This is usually the culmination of a lack of moral and emotional development throughout their lives.” .

Typical responses to stress vary with personality traits such as neuroticism, introversion and extroversion, rigidity, flexibility and ambition – but the main factor, according to Professor Dolan, is one’s perception of the control.

“Someone who feels in control of their life, environment and actions [is] less stress,” explains Professor Dolan. “That’s really the core of emotional intelligence.”

“Even if someone lacks innate self-confidence, it is possible to change their internal perception so that they feel more in control.”

More information:
Simon L. Dolan, De-Stress at Work—Understanding and Combatting Chronic Stress (2023). DOI: 10.4324/9781003217626

Provided by Taylor & Francis

Reference: Leaders with low self-esteem likely to cause ‘toxic’ stress at work, research shows (2023, March 16) Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-leaders-self -esteem -toxic-stress.html

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