Health and stress

Managers’ Health: Risk Factors

February 2022 Living

Barbara Matijašič


Work overload and stress are familiar drivers of burnout and other health problems in managers. In a 2005 survey assessing the health of Slovenian managers, Prof Dr Metoda Dodič Fikfak (Head of the Clinical Institute of Occupational, Transport and Sports Medicine, which monitors and researches occupational diseases) found that almost a quarter of managers did not feel well, and one third devoted almost no or very little time to their health and well-being.

“Female managers become ill more often than their male colleagues, with the risks for both sexes being related to bad habits such as cigarettes and alcohol,” says the expert. The middle management is particularly exposed to health risks, trapped between pressures coming from superiors and those arising from managing subordinates. All this is even more pronounced in times of crisis, including the corona crisis, which has resulted in increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in work environments.

The key is changing ones lifestyle

Willingness to sacrifice and strong goal orientation are typical personality traits of managers. These characteristics can help overcome obstacles but can often lead to negative consequences such as stress, overwork, burnout and other health problems. It is essential to distinguish between challenges, or positive stress, which makes us better, and negative stress, making us ill.

The key is to adopt preventive measures early enough, such as changing one’s lifestyle. However, it is (unfortunately) much more common that radical changes have to be introduced after health is already compromised. The initial step is changing one’s mindset: every manager has to accept that everyone is replaceable. Next, boundaries have to be set – for oneself and others. Many managers do not have time to think about their well-being and health, and many avoid these issues altogether. That is until they find themselves in a difficult, life-altering situation that can endanger their health or even their lives and thus affect the future of their loved ones.

Health creates added value

Attending to one’s well-being in both personal life and the workplace is reflected in greater life satisfaction and work efficiency. Given the current trends and the environment we live in today, it is wise to take precautions against possible negative consequences. This is easier to do if you have a reliable health partner by your side. The Health Point (Zdravstvena Točka) assistance centre at Triglav health insurance company or Triglav Health (Triglav, Zdravstvena zavarovalnica) offers not only information on insurance and health service providers, but their team can help you obtain the consent of the insurance company for the provision of health services, and assist in you exercising your insurance rights. As a Triglav Health customer, you can contact Health Point on a toll-free telephone number all year round. Medical experts will find the right health care provider for you in any situation and arrange everything necessary to carry out the treatment.

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This article is part of The Adriatic: Strategic Foresight 2022 project.
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