May 08 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis
I just read the article on the study of transformational leaders from Norwich, England published in the journal, Work and Stress. I learned some really interesting and useful facts:
- A perfectly representative sample of the world's workers is comprised of 155 postal workers from Denmark. I might have looked elsewhere.
- The Danish postal service has both transformational and non-transformational leaders which were clearly identified and separated somehow in this study. (Methodology and criteria for doing so not mentioned.)
- Transformational leaders (defined as "inspiring their workers to greater performance") really have only one goal in life: To get their workers to come to work even when they are ill. This is called "presenteeism."
- Having workers come to work ill can actually infect other workers. WOW, who knew that?
- Not taking time to fully recover from an illness can actually harm one's overall health. (Another medical breakthrough!)
- Not taking sufficient sick leave for one year can actually lead to taking more the second and/or third year. Mathematicians might suggest a method called averaging.
- Oh crap! Transformational leaders apparently have another goal and it has something to do with motivation. We don't know what exactly but it probably isn't working because being ill is de-motivating.
- The cure for all these terrible problems is simply to recommend that transformational leaders engage in something called "healthy behavior" while using their vague strategy for motivating workers and to encourage said workers to "monitor their own health."
It is reassuring that we have such valuable research to guide our health and safety management efforts.
Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.