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Handling the Stress of Working Two Leadership Positions

Career Path
Internal Communication
Personal growth
Health / Stress / Burn-Out

10 April, 2019

Irene Cascaron discusses her experience of having dual roles and how she approached management when the work became too much.

Problem

When I started my management role I did so while also being a tech lead. Therefore, I was actually placed into a dual role scenario. I was managing people and yet I was still being a technical leader in a company that really pushes the boundaries of technology. Technically, you have to keep yourself up-to-date, research, and go to conferences. On the management side, our company feels strongly about their employees. We have a solid structure to help and nurture our team members through numerous one-on-ones, career management sessions, and setting goals. Consequently, as you can imagine, it became very difficult for me to balance both of these demanding positions.

Actions taken

After over a year and a half of trying to juggle both positions, I had an open conversation withmy manager and explained that although I understood both roles, together they were just too much for me. I told him my need to be good at what I am doing, but that there was no way I could continue doing both without eventually dropping the ball. He completely understood.

At this same time it was decided to split the roles into two individual positions. Prior to this, our company had been growing so fast that we were accommodating and creating roles while also experimenting with them. But when it became apparent that it was too much for one person, the company took action and modified it quite quickly. Because I was familiar with both roles, my manager gave me the option of which direction I wanted to take. Here was a visible fork in my career and I was given the choice to decide. I really enjoyed management and wanted to explore that arena more. My manager was fully on board and supported my desire to learn and grow on that career path. So I dropped the coding part and began focusing on supporting my team in their endeavors.

Lessons learned

  • I tried to stick through working the two roles for a very long time, too long actually. I should not have tried to do it for that long as you will end up burning out. If something is not working for you, give it a try, but don't drag yourself along for as long as I did.
  • At our company we have a great one-on-one methodology. Every other week I meet with my manager and team members, live in a face-to-face. This is the space to bring up challenges you are having, ones like I did. It's better to have discussions around these types of things rather than just write them off. Good communication is very important.

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