In a trust-based organization where people are valued, crying is recognized as a fundamental way that human beings respond to the world around them. There are many reasons why we cry, and one of them is when we touch into the energy of what really matters to us. THAT's the energy that a conscious organization thrives on ... a shared purpose and an embodiment of our core values that moves us to tears at times.
I remember with fondness overhearing a conversation of a colleague who was inviting an emotionally upset business acquaintance to come to our offices to talk. The business acquaintance expressed reluctance to come because she knew she would likely be crying. My colleague assured her, "we cry all the time around here ... come on over!"
In fact, what we had, and what every organization needs, are structures that recognize the human need for empathy (much as every office has bathrooms and a kitchen for other human needs). In our offices, we created a "gold room" that had soothing gold walls, very comfortable seating and a couch, music with high quality speakers, lots of plants, and adjustable warm lighting. It was a place people could go when they just needed a little time for themselves, or needed empathy from another person. Our Gold Room became a symbol to everyone of how much we valued the human experience in our workplace. And it was the place that my colleague and her business acquaintance went when she arrived.
We also need structures and skills in our meetings so that when a person becomes emotional or tearful, we can hold the space with care and empathy, and invite them, if needed, to seek the space or the care that they need. It takes self awareness, emotional intelligence and skills of empathy for a leader to show up with such a quality.
The acceptance of crying in the workplace is a direct measure of where the organization is on the spectrum of leading through trust vs. leading through fear.
(Above thoughts sparked by this article: hbr.org/2018/06/why-is-crying-at-work-such-a-big-deal)