I was giving a performance evaluation this morning and my employee started crying. (It was not a great review but she is not in any trouble – she just needs to improve a few simple things). This threw me. I did not know what to do so I off just kept going on with the review as if everything was normal. Please give me some advice on what to do when an employee cries.
Take your pick:
- Suppress the urge to giggle.
- Sob back – louder.
- Say, “Are you crying? Are you CRYING? There’s no crying in Quality Control [or whatever it is you do]!”
— Evil Skippy
I once worked with an attorney who thought if a woman cried during a deposition, one should offer some words of reassurance or comfort. She said if a man cried, she wanted him patted down for weapons. Thank goodness we have advanced from such sexist days; now she just wants everyone patted down.
I experienced a few crying employees during my H.R. and supervisor days. I also have had more than a few crying witnesses during depositions. Fun times. I do the same thing whenever it happens. I pause, look sincerely concerned (no matter how I actually feel) and ask the person if he or she would like to take a short break. If it is an option – and sometimes it is not an option – I will offer to reassume on a different day.
People have emotions. Some cry. Some don’t. There is no reason to panic and no reason to abort all management tasks for the day with respect to the employee. Be kind, be compassionate but don’t be a sap.
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