Women might be expected to cry more than men but anyone with an ounce of business sense knows shedding tears in the office is a no-no. Or is it? Sheryl Sandberg has shared a somewhat radical idea about women allowing themselves to actually be women when it comes to the work place. It’s not that all girls are soft and cry all the time, but if you happen to have a random breakdown at the office over something, she says there’s no reason to put up a tough front.
“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder, which is not exactly what happened,” she said in her Class Day speech at Harvard Business School. “I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.
“I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world, with a real voice, an authentic voice, it makes even less sense,” she said.
That may be a tough idea to grow legs. As much as women leaders would love to be able to be more of their authentic selves, as long as the leadership styles of female managers, bosses, and CEOs continues to be judged by different criteria than men it’s unlikely women would feel at liberty to openly cry or admit to it in the office. However we do know the male-female ratio is shifting in the workplace which means this could no longer be an issue soon—that is if women don’t adopt the prior criteria which we sometimes have a tendency to do.
Have you ever cried in the office? Did you feel ashamed about it?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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