How do you feel about your boss? Do you respect them as an equal peer or fear them as a distant and overbearing supervisor?
New research by a team of Canadian and Korean economists has found that people who think of their boss as a more of a ”partner” as opposed to a ”boss” are much happier in their day-to-day lives.
But how do you measure happiness? Well, over the years researchers have found that happiness usually follows a U-shaped curve. Throughout our childhood and teen years, we rate high on the happiness scale. This eventually dips to its lowest point in middle age before peaking again later in life.
The researchers in this study wanted to examine the different factors that could cause the mid-life dip which includes work stress.
They used the Gallup-Healthways daily poll, which surveys hundreds of adults each day on a variety of topics.
One of the questions that the survey asked was how employed respondents view their immediate supervisor: as a “boss”? Or as a “partner”?
Millions of responses were gathered over the course of several years. Interestingly, people with boss-supervisors demonstrated a larger drop in life satisfaction between their early 20s and mid-40s.
On the other hand, people with partner-bosses did not decrease as much. Both groups, however, see a big rise in life satisfaction as they age out of their 40s.
“We hypothesise that workplace social quality is more important for subjective well-being in mid-life than elsewhere,” the researchers write, “since mid-life years are for many people a time of stress created by competing demands from their work and family lives, and since these pressures are more easily reconciled when the workplace environment is more congenial and supportive.”