We've all heard exercise is good for your physical and mental well-being. But a good workout can actually influence the mental well-being of others, too. Because bosses who hit the gym tend to be less abusive to their employees. That's according to a study in the Journal of Business and Psychology. [James P. Burton, Jenny M. Hoobler and Melinda L. Scheuer, "Supervisor Workplace Stress and Abusive Supervision: The Buffering Effect of Exercise"]
Researchers asked 98 MBA students who were also employed full-time to rate how their supervisors treated them, by responding to statements like "[my boss] puts me down in front of others." The researchers also had supervisors fill out a different survey, about their stress levels and weekly exercise. And, as the authors expected, the more stressed-out supervisors were, the more their employees felt belittled by them. But the employees felt better about bosses who exercised, whether it was yoga, cardio or weight lifting. And just one or two days a week did the trick.
Exercise didn't simply melt away the stress—bosses who worked out reported feeling just as much pressure as their sedentary counterparts. Active bosses just spared subordinates the verbal attacks. So next time you feel like telling your boss to take a hike, it might actually be sound advice!
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]
[Note: Don't actually tell your boss to take a hike...]