The Crying Tribe: Why People Cry at Work
Crying is a normal part of life. Everyone does it at some point, but some people are more prone to breaking down and letting some tears flow more often than others. The workplace is not immune to this behavior, and as an employer, you should know how to deal with the crying tribe. By understanding what is going on through someone’s mind before they start crying, you will be more adept at dealing with it.
Is It Just Sadness
When you see someone crying, your first instinct will most likely be that they are feeling sad. While this can certainly be the case, that is not the only reason why one of your employees will do it. Oftentimes, crying is done when someone is feeling a variety of other emotions, including:
-Sense of powerlessness
Someone may feel completely frustrated by a situation and instead of punching a wall or screaming, the only recourse is to cry.
Attributes of a Crier
Everyone needs a good cry every once in a while, but there are specific characteristics that exist within the crying tribe, the people most prone to crying at work. A majority of criers believe that emotions are useful indicators to determine mood, and they are more likely to think of their bosses as being assertive. Crying is generally the course of action taken when lashing out physically or verbally is prevented.
Reasons for Crying
There are a number of reasons why people cry, but some reasons are more common in the office than others. For example, organizational differences can be to blame. This can happen when a manager is too direct with an employee on how he or she can improve. Indeed, the higher-ups of an organization hold a lot of power, and workers may break down if they feel they are not doing their job well. Under stressful circumstances, managers may snap at someone, or if a deadline needs to be met, then fear may be used as a motivator. Be mindful of the language you use, and always try to be constructive when you are giving employees notes.
Additionally, behavior displayed by the crying tribe may have nothing to do with what is going on at work. An illness or death within the family or undergoing extreme financial troubles at home will stick with someone throughout the day. You asking how someone’s spouse is doing when they are seriously ill may only reignite a sense of confusion, anger and sadness that causes someone to cry. Your inquiry may be innocent enough, but outside forces are causing someone to be more sensitive to certain questions than they normally would.
As an employer, there are various things you can do to help someone going through a tough time emotionally. One of the most important actions to take is to listen. Hearing why someone cried, whether it was an incident that happened at work or at home, can be a tremendous help. Many people feel a lot better just talking through their emotions with someone they know they can trust.
If one of your subordinates started to cry as a result from something you said, then be willing to offer an apology. Consider what you said and how it could have possibly been misconstrued. Be willing to be the bigger person and offer to make changes in your behavior. However, if the crying tribe started due to something outside of work, offer your condolences and ask if there is anything you can do to help. If a family member is sick, then try to avoid bringing up family matters around that person. Other steps can be taken to give your employee a comfortable work environment.
Finally, you need to consider making changes to your own behavior. While being tough and direct is sometimes part of the job, you should review how you often behave and see if you are ever out of line or lose your temper more times than not. You can also help your employee who cried save face. If you chewed someone out in front of everyone and that is where they cried, then you may want to think about giving a public apology. Productivity in an employee may decrease if they felt as if he or she were humiliated, so let your employees know you are willing to address your own shortcomings and that you can be a shoulder to cry on if needed. The crying tribe will appreciate your willingness to admit your mistakes, and everyone will feel like this is a safe space.
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