Senior business leaders needed for study into wellbeing and 'job crafting'

A new study looking into the wellbeing of business leaders is seeking feedback from CEOs and other senior managers on the topics of autonomy and "job crafting".
The Leader Wellbeing Study is being conducted by The CEO Circle with Melbourne Business School's Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre and the University of Melbourne's Centre for Positive Psychology.

A major focus of the study will be how autonomy and job crafting – the practice of tailoring work practices to make them more personally meaningful – can have an impact on wellbeing in the workplace.

Dr Gavin Slemp from the Centre for Positive Psychology said more participants were needed in the study – especially women leaders – but it had already discovered some surprising results.

"After just a few months, we found that some senior leaders feel quite constrained and controlled in their jobs, which was unexpected," he said.

Dr Slemp said the research team wanted to understand the conditions that supported autonomy, meaningful relationships and a feeling of competence in the workplace.

"We're interested in whether employees, and particularly senior leaders, have those three needs satisfied, and the potential predictors that will help satisfy those needs," he said.

"When senior leaders feel highly engaged, autonomous and supported, they're better off in terms of wellbeing and employees down the line are likely to benefit from that as well."

Dr Slemp said the factors influencing a person's wellbeing were more often psychological than financial, with income playing a relatively minor part.

"We have found that earning a lot of money is a small factor in wellbeing, whereas factors such as loneliness seem more important.  For instance, feeling lonely makes it difficult to reach out to colleagues for help and develop relationships with peers," he said.

Dr Slemp urged senior executives who hadn't participated in the study yet to take part, and said the results would be used to help improve wellbeing and reduce stress in the workplace.

"Once we know more about the most potent drivers behind leader wellbeing or distress, we can potentially make changes that help senior leaders to increase their engagement and lower their stress and burnout levels. For example, the results might be used to better-inform wellbeing programs and organisational policies," he said.

If you're interested in taking part in the survey, visit the Leader Wellbeing Study website. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete.