Depression is one of the most serious emotional disorders that most people do not clearly understand. Most people confuse depression for being sad, but it is beyond being sad. According to Longman Dictionary, depression is defined as a medical condition that makes you very unhappy and anxious and often prevents you from living a normal life but I would define it as a feeling of prolonged sadness or stress to a point where a person does not feel anything anymore. Leaders and entrepreneurs are humans and have a life besides work or business; they can also have personal problems from their personal life which can affect business.


According to Thomas,Dubey,Samanta,Alex & Jose (2016), depression and anxiety are related to stress and sadness and can be a result of personal life problems or work crises. Leaders may have stress from work, for example, financial stress or reduced productivity at work. “Entrepreneurs often juggle many roles and face countless setbacks–lost customers, disputes with partners, increased competition, staffing problems–all while struggling to make payroll’’, Bruder (2013).

It is not easy to identify if a person is depressed or not because some of the most depressed people are always happy. Some symptoms of depression can be identified but one cannot conclude that the person is depressed. Some of these symptoms are fatigue, loss of energy, fear, thoughts of guilt, behavioural change and reduced productivity. According to West, Lee & Cate (2012), behavioural change of employees can be a sign of depression, for example, employees who used to be punctual start coming late to work, taking sick leaves and have a decline in work performance.

Having depressed workers leads to low productivity and may also affect relationships between co-workers. Depression can be prevented or at least treated by providing therapy to avoid the negative effects of depression. West.,et al (2012), suggest that performance review can be used to monitor change in behaviour of individuals and also state that the process of internalising would yield new understanding of the relationship between work and depression. However, Streeter,Gerbarg, Saper , Ciraulo & Brown (2012) suggest a different approach to treating depression , they argue that back pain and depression are frequently comorbid and have both been successfully treated with yoga-based interventions in randomized controlled studies.

It is very important for leaders to understand depression and other emotional disorders so that they can be able to tell if their employees are unwell and also to be aware if they are themselves depressed. “Leaders at all levels of organisations need more ammunition than ever before to fight the mounting pressure and threats they are facing in their day to day activities and career progress”, Roche,Haar & Luthans (2014).


Leaders and entrepreneurs should be enlightened about depression, what exactly it is, the symptoms, causes, effects and ways of avoiding depression. Companies can hire psychologists to teach about depression and provide therapy to those that are ill. It is very important for companies to know about depression in order to maintain good relations and  productivity in the workplace.

By: Katlego Aisha Mogatle

Edited by: Onalenna Mphela Segaetsho



Roche, M., Haar, J., & Luthans, F., (2014). The Role of Mindfulness and Psychological Capital on the Well-Being of Leaders. Management Department Faculty Publications. 126.

Streeter CC et al. (2012). Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Med Hypotheses.

West, L., Lee, A., & Poynton, C., (2012).Becoming depressed at work: A study of worker narratives. Journal of Workplace Behavioural Health, 27(3).

Thomas, A., Dubey, S., Samanta, M., Alex, A., & Jose, S. (2016).Assessment of psychological stressors of depression and anxiety stress scale-21 in southern Indian healthy volunteers. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, 8(5), 288-295.

Longman Dictionary, 454.

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