People Cry . . . Even at Work

There are several reasons someone might show their emotions at work, from the personal to the professional.   Tears are a sign of our humanity, but tears do not imply embarrassment or weakness.

It is important to remember that it is not always the boss who will be faced with a crying employee.  In the book “Lean In,”  Sheryl Sandberg references Marcus Buckingham’s leadership research.  “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed.”

Leadership is about being authentic  

Leadership is about being authentic, truthful and even vulnerable.   “You’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it,” said Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz.

authenticity not perfectionbgAs a leader, remember that all of us have good and bad days. Problems do not stop because the work day begins.  By creating an environment where your employees are empowered to be honest and authentic (without fear of repercussion) then they will be able to take the time, get the support needed to deal with a problem or share emotions more freely.   This results in happier and more productive employees.

A true leader possesses the skill of listening and compassion. Leadership happens at all levels, irrelevant of job titles. Your ability to empathize with a colleague whether they are sharing tears of joy or sorrow is an important skill to lead your team.  It creates a sense of community.

We live in a time where our personal and professional lives are not separate entities.   Work takes place beyond a specified timeframe.  Our colleagues are frequently our friends, confidants and mentors.

Sheryl Sandberg said, “maybe someday shedding tears in the workplace will no longer be viewed as embarrassing or weak, but as a simple display of authentic emotion.”

What are some ways you can be a more compassionate and authentic leader?   I believe the team is seeking your true leadership.

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  • Janice E Lee / September 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Thanks for this article. Sheryl’s book is on my read list. I can easily get teary eyed, and try to stifle it. As I try to control it, my inner self is saying, come on, be hard as nails. So I think Sheryl’s message will mean a lot to me and I can learn something new from it.

    • Peg Calvario / September 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

      I am encouraging you to share your authentic self with others at work. Let your heart lead you.

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