Health

Taking up leadership role when you have depression

Microsoft Glanz
Nov 28

I have periodically suffered from Depression through out my life ever since I was a teenager. I have always required periods of down time in my life to deal with it. However I’m able to manage things most of the time without anyone noticing it, especially in my adult life.
I have an opportunity to lead a team. I’m afraid If the depression will cause a problem. As an IC it’s easy for me to hide it, I can take a few days OOF and no one will notice it, but I wonder if it will cause a problem for my directs. A few years ago I turned down similar opportunity but now I’m having a tougher time to make a decision. I have 2 kids and have a supportive husband making it easier for me to handle things at home.

Have you been in a similar issue and what did you do? I see a lot of threads here on depression but is anyone with depression a manager? I don’t want this to limit my opportunities but I also don’t want to be a bad manager.

comments

Add a comment
  • Autodesk / EngVjvcjko
    The fact that you are considering all the factors to be a good lead makes you seem like a decent empathetic person, i think you’ll do good things for the team’s long term growth. You should consider taking the opportunity, without worrying about how what happened in the past might affect you today or in the future. Good luck 😊
    Nov 284
    • Amazon what¿
      ^ Well said, completely agree
      Nov 28
    • Facebook Rdfrt
      Totally agree. OP, I am sure you have heard about or worked around many asshole managers. You will be leagues above them and your team will love you. Don't hesitate, seize the opportunity to find out what you are capable of.

      You don't have to be the best manager you have ever met, just like you don't aspire to be the best IC you have ever met. Btw as a backup, returning to IC is not too hard.
      Nov 28
    • New / ProductiTri
      +1 go for it :)
      Nov 28
    • Microsoft Glanz
      OP
      Thanks so much for the encouraging words!
      Nov 28
  • Tesla ujDn56
    Your depression does not make you any lesser of a person or an effective leader. I have no doubts you will be able to be a successful manager, but please do take care of yourself and get the care and attention you need so that you are able to cope with the depression so it doesn’t debilitate you like you’re describing.
    Nov 280
  • Facebook YzrA72
    This is such a great topic and I am glad you posted it. I have the same predicament. As a PM, really hard to hide depression and stress from team.
    Nov 280
  • Microsoft Hfthgy
    Don’t make it a reason for not taking up the leadership role. If you have battled it since teenage, think of all the stages of life you have successfully dealt with and adapted to so far. You can do it this time too. Being a mother to 2 kids is a lot more difficult than managing a bunch of adults :)
    Nov 280
  • Amazon / EngIAmJob
    Managers tend to have better WLB. Less demand to work from home. More meetings during 9-5 then go home. You should do fine.
    Nov 283
    • New / ProductiTri
      Are you a manager?
      Nov 28
    • Amazon / EngIAmJob
      No, but many friends turned into ones
      Nov 28
    • Microsoft Glanz
      OP
      Most good managers I have had are usually there for the team, and I hope to be a good one :). It becomes hard on days you just don’t feel like talking to anyone. Easier to WFH and cancel meetings as an IC, but canceling a 1:1 with your direct when they have something urgent might be hard.
      Nov 28
  • Microsoft Glanz
    OP
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I’m surprised that no one with depression identified them as a manager yet here. Considering on Blind we see a lot of threads on Depression, I wonder if it means we are really unable to make it to Leadership roles due to this. I know my career has suffered so much because of my inability to tolerate tough political situations as I needed to remove myself quite often from such teams to avoid severe depressive episodes. This meant more frequent team changes and slower career progressions. I know life is much more than career and I’m grateful for what I have, but I wish there is truly a solution for this.
    Nov 291
    • Clover Health / Engdoenfh
      To be fair, a lot of depression posts don't reference hierarchy or position at all.
      Dec 2
  • I think it might be helpful to try and develop new coping mechanisms that are more compatible with a leadership role. Idk what that will be for you. I found it very helpful to focus my energies on getting more fit -- small successes at the gym make me feel much better about myself and help stave off depressive episodes without completely retreating into myself.

    That being said, I think you will do great since you are cognizant of potential weaknesses from your side. Depression is not a reason to not take on a leadership role.
    Nov 280
  • Amazon igotbetter
    I’ve never been a manager, but I have had depression. Had to take a three-month leave, one month of that in inpatient care. My manager had no clue how to deal with any of it, and she retaliated against my need for ongoing therapy, etc, and eventually fired me. My job performance wasn’t 100%, but also I hadn’t killed myself so I thought I was ahead in that equation. HR had her back even when I had proof she was fabricating events and conversations that never happened.

    You have two decisions, I think, before you. One is the role, and you outline the thought process above. The other is, if you go for it, does any part of that include disclosure of any kind? In my experience, disclosure is complicated, but also what I wouldn’t have given to have a manager who understood, even a little bit. It was one such manager, not in my leadership chain, who helped me realize I needed to take leave and get help. Having people with perspectives on mental health is essential, I think. But it’s also tremendously complicated.

    I’m not sure if that helps, but that was my experience.
    Nov 281
    • Microsoft Glanz
      OP
      Sorry to hear about what happened to you. I used to have lengthier episodes in the past, but these days I can usually come out of it in 2-3 days. I use multiple coping strategies and have developed a routine for these days which includes me staying home and practicing yoga, meditation, walks, light therapy etc. I have never disclosed this to anyone at work.
      Nov 28
  • Clover Health / Engdoenfh
    This post sings to me. Thanks you for sharing.
    Nov 290
  • Juniper Nishit
    Following. In the same boat.
    Nov 280
  • Google AudiBoi
    This is BS. Might be different at Amazon
    Nov 280

Download the app for more exclusive content.