The C Word


Today I want to talk about the C word. I know it’s kind of controversial but it comes up a lot in my work and I think it’s more frequent use is worthy of a discussion topics.

I am talking about – dare I say it, crying. Why? What did you think I was talking about?

Is it ever okay to cry at work? Whilst I am sure Mrs. Thatcher would not have approved, I am going to have to say yes. Now don’t get me wrong – anyone who boos when they get told off – as long as the telling off is done respectfully – is being silly, and not earning themselves many brownie points. However I don’t think it kills you to express real emotions.

Everyone who saw me on stage winning Entrepreneur of the Year knows I was properly welling up – really should have chosen waterproof mascara that day! Just yesterday the kindness of others and when I say the ‘others’ I am talking about suppliers – was so amazing I literally had a little boo, out of gratitude I guess. Now whilst I appreciate this makes me sound like my HRT was running out actually its was a lot of pent up emotion that had been built up over a few days and when I was telling my team about it I just welled up. They don’t think I am weak, they think I am human – and to be frank I think I get more respect for my occasional cracks in my professional exterior. People are human – occasionally vulnerable, with real emotion. People relate to these very human traits, and ultimately people buy, work or supply to other people. So it’s okay to be a person, not an emotionless machine.

Do not pull the crying ‘card’ though. You know the emotional blackmail jobby. If I cry I get my way. This might have worked when you were having a tantrum at the checkout at Sainsbury’s when you were two (not if you were my kids mind) but this is the WORST thing you can do if you want to earn your teams respect. An occasional tear wont hurt you, deploy strategic tears will.

And for leaders out there – when you are going into battle – whether it’s a confrontational boardroom, a disciplinary or a tough suppliers meet – then keep a lid on it. You are seriously going to have to toughen up. Your credibility and therefore you success depends on it.

I trust this helps. Now where did I put those tissues????