Managers Who Get Regular Exercise Treat Employees Better

Supervisors who demean, insult, or otherwise abuse their employees may simply not be getting enough exercise. A new study from Northern Illinois University has found that managers who get at least moderate amounts of exercise each week are less likely to take it out their subordinates. Their results are published in The Journal of Business and Psychology.

To assemble their data, the researchers surveyed managers about the stresses they faced on the job and in their lives away from work. They also surveyed the managers' underlings, asking questions about how often they perceived their supervisors engaging in abusive behavior, including insulting them in front of others and telling them their ideas or feelings were stupid.

As expected, supervisors who were more stressed tended to be perceived by their employees as more abusive. However, when the research team analyzed the managers' data for time spent on stress-reducing activities, they found that those who got some exercise during the week were significantly more able to channel their stress into that activity, even when they felt similar levels of stress as their non-exercising peers. The level of activity necessary to see this benefit was surprisingly low, too. Just two to three sessions a week were enough. The specific activity seemed not to make a difference.


Companies spend time and money on improving manager-subordinate relations, and on overall employee health. By understanding how stress affects office relationships and how exercise might mitigate that stress, companies can significantly increase workplace wellbeing.

The researchers involved do not, however, offer any advice on how to suggest to your supervisor that she could use more exercise.

Source: Northern Illinois University
Photo: Rebrand Cities from Pexels

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