015 How To Handle Tears At Work with Ian Daley


I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou


Welcome to The New Leader Podcast. Today we are going to talk about what to do when emotions come into the workplace. Specifically, what to do when someone cries at the office.

As a new leader, what do you do when one of your employees or colleagues starts crying? I have gone through this firsthand with both men and women, so I am going to share four quick tips that will help you when you encounter this type of situation in the future (if you haven’t already).

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Don’t Get Weird

Maybe you come from a family of “non-criers”, or you believe crying is not acceptable at work. But the moment you see someone’s eyes start to well up and they begin to lose their breath, it isn’t about you. It’s about them. Don’t make it about yourself.

When somebody starts crying and they start to apologize for it, just say this,

“It’s OK. It just means that you care.”

Create A Safe Space

Whether it’s your office or your employee’s office, let them know that the conversation is just between the two of you. Letting someone know that they have a safe zone for moments like this goes a long way.


I cannot emphasize this enough. This isn’t the kind of listening where you’re “listening” but you’re feeling awkward, you’re trying to find a solution, you’re waiting for that person to catch their breath so you can talk – I’m talking about genuine listening to what is, and isn’t, being said.

Avoid Problem-Solving

In highly emotional moments like this, your employee is not looking for you to solve their problems. If they are, they will likely ask you to. But it’s most likely that they just need an ear to listen to them.

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