QBeing an Emotional Women in a Corporate Environment – Do’s and Don’ts

answered February 17th, 2010 by Patti Croft

“How do you balance being an emotional woman in a corporate environment? What are some do’s and don’ts that are important to remember?”



I think we are all fundamentally emotional beings – men and women. However, I also think that there are some important dos and don’ts for the corporate environment. I think you should never suppress or ignore an emotion such as empathy -do tell a colleague you are sorry to hear of the passing of a loved one or share the joy of a wedding or birth of a new baby. This should apply to people who work for you but also people that you report to – it is an important reminder that we are all human, and taking the time to recognize someone’s pain or joy shows respect and empathy – important characteristics in any corporate environment.


I think anger can be appropriate in a corporate setting but within boundaries. It is not OK to embarrass someone by venting your anger in an open setting, in front of co-workers – it is not OK to yell or use profanities. Apologizing for losing it is not acceptable. I think it is entirely appropriate to ask a person to step aside into a private area (office or boardroom) and acknowledge your anger. Explain why you are angry and listen respectfully to their response – it is OK to agree to disagree. Don’t let it escalate – know when you are losing control of your anger and leave before you hit the breaking point.


I think crying is a tough one. My personal rule of thumb is never to let people see you cry in an open setting at the office. By this I mean that I have retired to the ladies room many times to shed a few tears of anger, sorrow, or frustration but not in an open setting. Similarly, I have cried in a trusted colleague’s office, relating a personal sorrow in particular. I think it is important to be empathetic but I think crying does break a subtle rule of office etiquette but I may be old fashioned in this regard! When I first started working in 1980, I sat at a desk on a trading floor that was 90% occupied by men – to cry in that setting was viewed as an enormous sign of weakness – this has probably shaped my opinion in this regard.

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