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The view from the top: It's nice up there

  • September 29, 2012 - 5:25 PM

 

Management consultants say 60 percent of senior execs experience high stress on a regular basis, and a thriving industry of motivational speakers teaches business leaders how to manage their corrosive burden of stress. But just how uneasy lies the head that wears the crown? Not very, it turns out. A new study reveals that those who sit atop the nation's political, military, business and nonprofit organizations are actually pretty chill. Compared with people of similar age, gender and ethnicity who haven't made it to the top, leaders pronounced themselves less stressed and anxious. And their levels of cortisol, a hormone that circulates at high levels in the chronically stressed, told the same story. The source of the leaders' relative serenity was pretty simple: control. "Leaders possess a particular psychological resource -- a sense of control -- that may buffer against stress," the Harvard University research team reported in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

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