I started my career as an engineer, in an engineering company. So the idea of displaying emotions in the workplace wasn’t exactly normal. We liked driving things by logic and analysis.

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So I struggled as a new manager to work with people who thought about this differently. What I’ve learned is that we’re all three dimensional people, with our own lives and complexities.

Kids and animals get sick. Marriages are formed and fall apart. Loved ones die. Career prospects move forward or back.

These are all heavily emotional times, right?

And if we don’t help our people to feel safe in bringing these up, they’re going to look for a different place to work.

Work itself has emotional times. We have great accomplishments and disappointments. We get frustrated with customers. Co-workers make mistakes.

Now, I totally understand that you don’t want your workplace to feel like an emotional soup of middle-schoolers. Fair enough. But you certainly can – must – make it safe for people to process their deep emotions while at work, so they can move on to being productive.

Understand. Empathize. Acknowledge.

So your people can move on.