October 19, 2014 by Ken Nowack

“People are saying that I’m an alcoholic, and that’s not true, because I only drink when I work, and I’m a workaholic.”

Ron White

Is there such a thing as healthy Type A workaholics?

Let me share with you some current findings that we haven’t yet published about Type A women (as well as men).

We did an analysis of 345 working men and 510 women in diverse industries and job levels exploring the relationship between work-life stress, Type A behavior (driven, impatient and achievement oriented style) and cognitive hardiness (optimistic disposition; viewing change as a challenge; having an internal locus of control; high self-efficacy and self-esteem; committed to work and life activities) from our data base. We found three interesting outcomes:

  1. Women reported significantly higher levels of overall work and life stress compared to their male counterparts.
  2. Type A women (and men) who were also high on hardiness reported significantly less work and life stress overall.
  3. The highest level of stress was reported by Type A women who also reported low hardiness. Women who are highly competitive, driven and impatient are most likely to experience a high level of stress when they are more pessimistic, and view change as a threat rather than a challenge. 

These findings suggest that hardy Type A women can, indeed, “have it all” and remain healthy — both physically and psychologically- if they are also resilient.

One of the most important components of our own Cognitive Hardiness measure used in our research is being committed or engaged with what you are involved in, rather than, alienated and disengaged.

A recent study analyzed 1,246 workers in the 40 standard tests used to measure engagement, workaholism, motivation and burnout (those “blah” feelings that make the day drag and make workers depressed). Participants also reported their typical working hours in a week1.

The researcher’s findings identified three types of hard workers in addition to a group of slackers (nonworkaholic/nonengaged).

  • Workaholics:  These individuals work long hours and are motivated more by external rewards
  • Engaged Talent:  These individuals were loyal and reasonably hardworking.
  • Engaged Workaholics:  These individuals worked extremely hard out of sheer enjoyment and passion for the job, tasks, assignments they are involved in.

The “engaged workaholics” spent the most time on working but unlike “workaholic” employees, engaged workaholics did not experience the highest levels of burnout, suggesting that high engagement may buffer the negative consequences of workaholism.  The researchers believe that classic workaholics are “pushed” to their work, while engaged workaholics are “pulled.” 

These hard working, achievement oriented Type A’s love what they do.

As a result they dodge some of the health and fatigue repercussions that disengaged talent typically experience such as high stress, job burnout, absenteeism, less job satisfaction. and poor physical health.

The main findings of this study suggests that workaholism and work engagement were two largely independent concepts.

So, work hard at what you love and love what you work hard at….It will at least bring pleasure and maybe even success…Be well….

  1. Van Beek, Taris, T, & Schaufeli, W. (2011).  Workaholic and work engaged employees: dead ringers or worlds apart? Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16, 468-482 []

Posted in Engagement, Leadership Development, Relate

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Top Leadership Development Blog Posts this Week: 10/17/14

October 17, 2014 by Wally Bock

Leadership development may be the most important thing any company does. That’s why, every week, I review blogs and other publications that cover leadership development to find the very best leadership development posts. This week, you’ll find pointers to posts about the annual PwC CEO survey, leadership as an organizational competency, identifying critical talent, and […]

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Free Coaching Exercise: My Work and Life Index

October 15, 2014 by Ken Nowack

This free exercise, and dozens of others, were created for our book, Clueless: Coaching People Who Just Don’t Get It. You can learn more about Clueless by visiting our site or you can buy it from amazon.com today. Purpose of Exercise: Clients gain an understanding of how they feel about work and life to assist […]

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Leadership development: The future starts now

October 15, 2014 by Wally Bock

Jack retired early, just about thirty years ago. None of the top management of his company today knew him, but he’s shaped every one of their careers. Here’s how it happened. In the 1970s, Jack was thinking about how to create a cadre of young leaders for his company. Early in his own career, twenty […]

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Perceived Unfairness Will Make You Sick

October 12, 2014 by Ken Nowack

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Anonymous Recent studies confirm that emotional hurt and rejection, whether part of social interactions or the perception of inequitable and unjust workplace conditions, can actually trigger the same neurophysiologic pathways associated with physical pain and suffering1. A nifty study by Naomi Eisenberger and […]

Posted in Engagement, Relate, Talent Management

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Top Leadership Development Blog Posts this Week: 10/10/14

October 10, 2014 by Wally Bock

Leadership development may be the most important thing any company does. That’s why, every week, I review blogs and other publications that cover leadership development to find the very best leadership development posts. This week, you’ll find pointers to posts about development mindsets, turning star workers into bad leaders, and developing leaders in the Social […]

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Free Coaching Exercise: Ranking My Values

October 8, 2014 by Ken Nowack

This free exercise, and dozens of others, were created for our book, Clueless: Coaching People Who Just Don’t Get It. You can learn more about Clueless by visiting our site or you can buy it from amazon.com today. Purpose of Exercise: Clients are asked to select and rate their top ten values. How to Administer […]

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Leadership development: Seeking the perfect CEO

October 8, 2014 by Wally Bock

You’d like Tom. Pretty much everybody does. He’s a people person with a great personality. He’s just finished his third, successful stint as a CEO. He’s a gourmet cook, a husband and father who’s got a good relationship with grown kids. He’s a happy guy, but hardly what the Economist would call a “philosopher king.” […]

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To Get Ahead, it Pays to Be Nice (Not)

October 5, 2014 by Ken Nowack

 “The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.” George Carlin It seems that that nasty people (particularly when they are bosses) seem to make the lives of other’s miserable even if they have more status, make more money and have more power. In general, being cooperative, flexible, […]

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Leadership Development Blog Posts this Week: 10/3/14

October 3, 2014 by Wally Bock

Leadership development may be the most important thing any company does. That’s why, every week, I review blogs and other publications that cover leadership development to find the very best leadership development posts. This week, you’ll find pointers to posts about the Oxford Economics and SAP survey on leadership development, will top executives embrace MOOCs […]

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