At some point in your career either you or one of your employees is going to feel depressed at work. The trick here is to deal with the situation before it gets out of control and begins to affect work performance – but how?
The first and most important thing to remember is that depression shouldn’t always be viewed as an illness that must absolutely be treated with medications. In many cases, a person who is depressed is responding physically to something in his environment. So the real key is to find out what is causing your (or your employee’s) depression and find out exactly what those triggers are trying to tell you.
Last week I talked about Matthew Campling and his Age/Work Arc Theory. Campling also spent some time studying the affects of depression in the workplace and concluded that all of us have a space in which our emotions or emotional reactions occur. Those who are overworked may not have time to allow their natural human reactions, such as feeling anger or worry, to occur.
Because they never work through their natural responses they begin to feel as though a dark cloud is filling the space around them. In short, a feeling of depression is usually a cover for some sort of issue or emotion that has not been addressed. Uncovering those emotions and working through them may help to solve the problem.
As a manager, it is your job to make sure that your employee’s tasks aren’t the cause of his dark cloud. If so, try to find out what you can do to make things a bit easier or to help your employee work through whatever issue he is experiencing within the workplace. Just remember that no matter how genuine your desire to help, not all cases of depression are simple to solve. If you can’t help your employee, refer him to someone with more professional psychological experience.
Originally published: 19 November, 2009
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