Where do you stand on women crying in the office?
Or anyone for that matter. The question of women crying in the office produces a huge range of opinions. On the one hand you have the “it’s fine to cry” brigade – “women are emotional beings and should be authentic and true to themselves.”
On the other, you have the view of those who feel that women crying in the office in a professional situation is letting the side down.
There is no doubt that in general female tears are generally received harshly. They are seen as weak, disruptive and manipulative, especially in an open meeting or in response to criticism or negative feedback, or a disagreement with a colleague or boss. Many professional women have battled to hold back tears in a difficult workplace situation at some point in the careers.
According to research from University of California, Davis, Kim Elsbach, women are much more likely to cry at work, mainly because they have not been socialized to hold back tears in the ways that boys have.
Male turn off
There has been another curious development. Research from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, suggests that when women cry, men’s testosterone levels drop significantly. An article in the New Scientist indicates that “Tears of sadness contain a chemical turn-off for men. Like animal tears, human tears may influence the behaviour of others by smell alone.”
In a “Master of the Universe “ male dominated corporate setting, testosterone is a key driver in a competitive environment. Studies have associated lower testosterone levels in men with feelings of failure. So it’s no wonder they don’t like women crying in the office!
2 steps women can take for crying in the office
If you find yourself frequently crying in the office here’s what you can do:
- Identify the trigger – is it a specific situation or one key person who sets of this chain of emotions. If it is a person or situation you can’t distance yourself go to step 2
- Is there an underlying reason? If there is a deeper cause which is part of a pattern – feeling undervalued, stressed, tired, over-worked, scared, or out of your depth, then raise those issues with a coach or trusted confidante Check out 3Plus coaching programs
Crying is a form of emoting to convey pain or distress. Unless there is a genuine tragedy, it is no different to yelling, door slamming or swearing none of which have a place in a constructive working environment.
Following President Obama’s emotional speech on gun control, will that promote a shift in our general thinking on crying in the office or our place of work? Or is this another of those double binds for women?
What do you think?