Leadership trait reduces work stress: study

January 28, 2010

Although most "Type A" personality traits are associated with increased levels of work stress, one Type A trait -- leadership -- may have the opposite effect, finds a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

According to a study abstract, researchers from the University of Helsinki studied the association between demonstrated Type A behaviors and work stress among 752 Finnish workers. The characteristics were categorized as leadership, aggression, being "hard-driving" and eagerness-energy, according to a press release from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which publishes JOEM.

Unlike the other Type A personality traits, workers who possessed the "leadership" trait experienced lower levels of work stress. Although these individuals expended high effort at work, they also had high levels of work control and rewards. Study authors suggested the balance between effort and reward may be responsible for the low levels of stress among these workers.

By contrast, workers testing with high levels of the other three Type A characteristics had higher levels of stress and an imbalance in their work effort and reward.