I’m sure that much of this ties to my stance of work is personal. However, I think this topic deserves a post all to itself.
The other day, someone that I talk with on a fairly regular basis called me in hysterics. She had been frustrated at work for quite some time and lost it that morning. When I asked her what lost it meant, her response was that she cried.
In order to help her feel better, I shared with her all of the different moments that I’ve cried at work. And I’ve cried plenty throughout my career.
In good times: Yes, I’ve had a tear or two run down my face when I find myself super proud of a team/individual. This doesn’t happen very frequently and almost always occurring when they look at me with triumph and disbelief that they did it.
In expected moments: I cry like a little girl when I have to say goodbye to people and companies. I think when I left TechSmith, I cried for most of those last two weeks.
In sad times: I’ve cried with people at work when they are processing a difficult event in their lives (or mine for that matter).
In disappointed times: I’ve cried tears of defeat when I learn of malicious rumor.
In difficult times: I’ve cried (and thrown up) after having to fire someone.
In unexpected times: I cry when I get super angry. This is the worst one. People think I’m sad and try to comfort me when I’m just extremely angry.
Now this makes it sound like all I do is cry at work. I don’t but I have and will again in the future. Except in the expected moments, I often try to keep it private and with people I trust to expose that side of me. Not the confident leader with her act together but the human who needs to release the pressure/feelings.
I’m sure for some people reading this, a thought has entered their head along the lines of “women and their emotions”. However, let me assure you that I’ve had many men in my office with tears in their eyes for these exact scenarios.
Now I’m in no way saying that one should cry every day at work or for every issue. If you are, you should be seeking help as there might be something deeper going on and your team members should not be dealing with it.
What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t feel like the world has just ended, when we cry at work…when we are human at work. If we want to be high performing teams, we need to relate and be able to interact with each other in our good moments and our less than good moments.
What if you flipped the question and asked “When was the last time you were willing to be vulnerable enough to cry in front of you co-workers?”