Don't fear the tears

I’ve been running a lot of performance management training sessions lately and when I ask participants for their challenging situations they often respond:

 “What do you do when the employee cries?”

Here are some tips:

Let them.  Performance reviews or any conversation about a person’s career can evoke a strong emotion and tears might be part of that.

Give them a moment.  Chances are they are not thrilled to be crying so just be patient and pass the Kleenex box.  (Hint: Have a box of tissue in the meeting room just in case, plus it’s flu season, so always good to have them handy)

 If they can’t move on, tell them you will have the conversation later that day.  The sooner the better to ensure you talk.  You don’t want to give the impression that crying will get them out of feedback, coaching or performance reviews.