New research from Harvard’s Kennedy School has found that men who are leaders or in positions of authority have noticeably higher levels of testosterone than those who follow them.

Lead researcher, Gary Sherman, suggests that encouraging your body’s own testosterone production could be the key to unlocking the pack-leading alpha male in you.

The Study

The study focused a sample of male executives from within the executive education program at Harvard. The participants gave samples to ascertain their levels of two hormones – testosterone and cortisol.

Cortisol is usually referred to as the stress hormone as it is released in the body chiefly when we feel under significant pressure.

It’s presence in our system is bad news for testosterone as it directly blocks it’s effects. The study showed that those entrusted with the most responsibility and in charge of the most people had the highest levels of testosterone and a more negligible amount of cortisol.

Guys whose split was a bit more even had only managed to shimmy their way so far up the pecking order, delegating to some but still answering to others.

Those with dominant cortisol quantities (and hence lower testosterone) were confined to the lower rungs of the ladder. The conclusion of the work was that;

“the executives’ endogenous testosterone and cortisol interacted to significantly predict hierarchical position.”
“Stress reduction has leadership implications,” adds Sherman, “It can unleash leadership potential in employees who might otherwise not show it.”

Route to the Top

Sherman’s work isn’t the first time the testosterone/cortisol balance has been tested outside a laboratory setting. In 2010, two studies from the Netherlands did examine the hormonal makeup of grad students under clinical conditions.

In the first test the participants were divided into two groups and asked to build an intricate block puzzle; one group would be giving instructions while the other would be following their directions.

In both cases the group who were giving the building instructions and those who chose to persevere with the completion were shown to have greater amounts of testosterone and less cortisol.

What Can We Learn?

What Gary Sherman – at the time of the study a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of government and now a now a professor at the college of business at Stony Brook University, New York – takes away from these latest findings, is the importance of employers taking steps to minimise stress in the workplace.

Cutting down cortisol production in employees, allowing their testosterone to flourish and overall performance to improve.

“Our study is about leadership potential that’s been untapped, that may otherwise be blocked by cortisol,” says Sherman. “It’s possible to unlock that potential.” To do this he suggests in-work relaxation measures and more generous leave.

Cutting cortisol will definitely help promote a healthy hormonal balance, but there are plenty of other relatively hassle free changes we can also make in day to day life to get our testosterone and, as we now know, ourselves to the very top.

Check out our sites’ articles on test boosting dos and don’ts for tips, as well as the review section for the safest and most effective natural testosterone boosting supplements.

There’s no need to tell your work about any of this other stuff though. After all, to be the alpha male there have to be beta males, so just keep this to yourself.

Write a comment

Comment List

  • Cyp 23rd November 2018

    High levels of testosterone over time lower anxiety, stress, risk of depression and increases the ability to focus when it comes to complex tasks. One of the things that makes one a good leader is being able to make cool head decissions when shit hits the fan. The biggest factor in this is testosterone. That is why with possibly small exceptions women never make god leaders. That does not mean any guy with high testosterone will be a good leader. He also needs to know what needs to be done. But while this van be learned, testosterone is a pre requisit.

  • yxcvbn 27th January 2019

    Dealing with pressure needs to be learned, but testosterone helps to regulate or suppress emotions. You can’t make cool headed decisions if you are scared. But does it have to be high all the time? Or can it raise only when needed? It’s a fight response to threat. Today we live in a far safer environment that’s why I think T rates are low.