What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you see an employee crying at work? Do you immediately perceive that employee as immature or weak? Or are you able to empathise with them as long as it doesn't happen too often?
According to a new survey from Accountemps, 45% of workers have admitted to crying at work.
Interestingly, when asked about how crying at work impacts reputation, only 38% of workers said it's acceptable as long as it's not an everyday occurrence, compared to 44% of CFOs who felt the same. At the same time, 31% of workers and 30% of CFOs felt crying has no negative effects, saying it just shows you're human.
However, about a third of workers (32%) and 26% of CFOs were of the opinion that crying is never acceptable at work as it comes with the perception of weakness or immaturity.
By age, older workers are more likely to think of crying as acceptable. Only 25% of those ages 18 to 34 thought crying doesn't affect one's reputation, compared to 31% of those ages 35 to 54, and 43% of those age 55 and older.
The survey also revealed that 52% of employees have lost their temper on the job, with 65% directing their outburst toward a colleague, 37% aimed it at their manager, and 21% aimed it at a customer.
Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, said: "We're all human, and sometimes emotions can get the best of us. Workplace challenges are inevitable, but how you respond and move forward can demonstrate your professionalism, resilience and emotional intelligence.
Given that frequent emotional displays can be disruptive to coworkers and ultimately damage work relationships, Steinitz advised: "Thinking before reacting will not only help your professional reputation, but also show that you are considerate of your colleagues."
In line with that, here are some tips you can share with employees for handling these tough scenarios with professionalism and emotional intelligence.
The overbearing boss If your manager keeps a close eye on you and gives you little control over projects, instead of becoming frustrated, set up a private meeting with your boss to discuss ways you can build trust and gain more independence. Alternatively, you can advise managers to give their direct reports more autonomy over their projects.
The combative coworker If you keep butting heads with a colleague on a business problem, try considering your coworker's perspective. Hearing another point of view may help you both resolve the dispute more quickly.
The innocent error If you realise you've made a mistake on an email to your boss as soon as you hit "send", instead of yelling out in frustration and distracting others, send a follow-up note or speak with your manager to apologise and correct the issue.
The personal emergency If you're facing personal struggles, such as a family crisis or health concerns, consider talking to your boss - without oversharing - and request scheduling flexibility or a personal leave. Being transparent can ultimately benefit you and your employer.
The unbearable workload Instead of lashing out when your manager assigns you more work, meet to prioritize and possibly delegate projects to your teammates or temporary hires.