According to the latest “Time-Use studies,” which provide information about how people spend their time, who they spend it with and how they feel at various points throughout the day, one major finding from this research is that, for most people, the person they least enjoy being around is their boss! According to the study, most people actually prefer doing menial chores and cleaning the house than to spend time with their boss.

Most people overlook the massive influence that the boss-subordinate relationship has on our engagement at work, our physical, mental and emotional health and overall wellbeing.
The most common traits shown by bad leaders include stubbornness, self-oriented, overly demanding, impulsiveness, interrupting and tantrum-throwing. Having this type of leadership in an organisation unsurprisingly leads to increased employee turnover, absenteeism and decreased productivity, commitment and performance — that’s pretty obvious.

However, there is increasing evidence that there is a clear link between bad leaders and employee health problems. To put it simply, bad bosses can make you sick.

A study found that the more workers feel that their bosses are incompetent, the more the workers’ risk for heart attacks, heart disease, angina (which is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle) and other serious heart related issues. This risk increases the longer one works in the same stressful environment. For instance for those who had worked for that manager for more than four years, the risk increases from 24% to 39%.

Not surprisingly, some studies have shown that bad bosses can affect how your whole family relates to one another. A study found that the stress and tension caused by an incompetent  and negative boss at work also filters through to an employee’s personal relationships and ultimately the whole family. When people reported having an incompetent and negative boss, their significant other was more likely to report increased relationship tension and family conflict at home.

So if you are looking for a new role, a new project or a new job, make sure you really understand whom you will be reporting to. This is as important, or even more so, than your job title, the benefits and perks and even the company’s reputation. Don’t ever forget that your boss affects your health.

For your health’s sake, try to have a professional and pleasant relationship with your boss. Your boss is too much of an integral part of your daily live at work for an uncomfortable relationship. Remember that you don’t need to be friends with your boss but you need to have a relationship.

If you feel you have tried your best to make the relationship work and/or your boss keeps displaying the traits of a bad leader I mentioned earlier, then don’t wait for him or her to be weeded out of the organisation. Make your move before your health and personal relationships become compromised.

César Gamio
Master Educator, Chopra Center University
Senior Advisor to the Global Center for Conscious Leadership