Turning on the waterworks at work has always been taboo. Many claim that it is manipulative and reeks of unprofessionalism, especially for women.
However, growing numbers of female leaders are stepping up to say that crying at work can be okay.
In an address to Harvard graduates of the class of 2012, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, advised the graduates not to be afraid to cry at work. “I've cried at work. I've told people I've cried at work. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself,” she revealed.
Anne Kreamer, a former Fortune 500 executive and sometime Worldwide Creative Director for Nickleodeon, is another female leader who advocates workplace weeping. She has even written a book on the topic – It's Always Personal: Emotion in the New Workplace – in which she said that she found “people at all levels of management had cried at work, dispelling the notion it's career suicide”.
Lisa Lee, a diversity programme manager at Facebook, recently relayed her thoughts on workplace tears during a HuffPost Live segment. She doesn’t believe that emotional moments make her less professional in the workplace. “I think we associate crying, or the opposite of crying, not crying, as being in control all the time. We’re implying that having any sort of emotion that’s remotely visible means that you’re not in control,” she explained.
Researchers have also discovered that when women cry, men's testosterone levels drop significantly. Just the smell of a woman's tears was enough to send testosterone and arousal levels into a downwards spiral.
In other words, crying can actually be an effective way of disarming your difficult, testosterone-fuelled boss. Now, that’s an idea.
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