Being straight with your boss cuts stress: study

Jan 13, 2010

Telling your boss what you really think of them is good for your health -- and helps managers improve, according to research published Wednesday.

Firms should be even be encouraged to let employees regularly rate their line managers, to produce "happy, healthy, stress-free employees," said the study presented at a conference of the British Psychological Society.

Researchers split a group of 150 managers into two groups, one of which received training and feedback from some 500 staff on their management skills while the other bosses did not.

"When managers received feedback from their staff, they were more likely to change their style and subsequently be seen as more effective line managers," said the study.

Employees benefit as it allows them to let off steam, said expert Emma Donaldson-Feilder, presenting the research at a conference in Brighton, southern England.

"The consequences of stress are pervasive; those under stress may experience , such as or depression, physiological symptoms, such as or raised and/or cognitive symptoms such as reduced mental capacity.

"Stress is a significant cause of sickness absence and this puts pressure on those left behind to run the business, creating a cycle of uncomfortable pressure with costs to the individual and to the company," she said.

Donaldson-Feilder and her colleagues are developing a number of resources including a questionnaire that staff can use to rate their line manager and learning materials for managers, which will be available free online.

"Without holding a mirror up to a person, they can have blind spots about how they come across and if they think they are already good enough, why should they change," she said.

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