Direkt zum Inhalt

Climbing the Career Ladder Does Not Make You Happy: Well-being Changes in the Years Before and After Becoming a Leader

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Eva Asselmann, Jule Specht

In: Journal of Happiness Studies 24 (2023), 3, 1037-1058


Subjective well-being tends to be higher in leaders vs. non-leaders. However, do these differences come from selection effects (e.g., because higher subjective well-being predisposes for occupational success) or from within-person well-being changes before and after becoming a leader? This question remains largely unresolved. Previous research suggests that becoming a leader might be a double-edged sword and affect subjective well-being positively but also negatively (e.g., due to more power but also more stress). Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (N = 25,674), we examined (a) well-being differences between employees who did vs. did not start a leadership position and (b) well-being changes before and after becoming a leader. Compared to non-leaders, leaders were more satisfied with their lives, happier, and less sad in the years before and after starting a leadership position. Leaders became slightly more satisfied with their lives in the five years before and five years after becoming a leader. Happiness, sadness, and anxiety did not change, but anger increased after starting a leadership position. These findings support the idea that differences in subjective well-being between leaders and non-leaders largely stem from selection effects, while starting a leadership position might even lower specific well-being facets.

Keywords: Affect/Emotions; Leadership; Personality/Personality Assessment
Externer Link: