We are all human, we all have feelings and it can be tough to see a person cry. Here’s what to do when an employee starts crying during a disciplinary meeting.
Keep the meeting going.
You may be tempted to excuse the employee and postpone the meeting.
Rest ensured the next conversation will be even more difficult.
The employee’s choices led you both to this meeting.
Do not apologize or behave overly sympathetic!
Offer a tissue and a moment before you continue.
He or she needs to know the meeting is important and you are not ending it.
Check your email or some other task, so you can provide the employee a moment of privacy.
Continue the conversation where you left off before the “break”.
Do not restart from the beginning and do not summarize.
Retain control of the meeting by not letting anything sidetrack you, including crying.
The idea is to take the crying in stride as just one more normal human expression, like a smile. The more you dwell on the crying, the more powerful it becomes. It can override the purpose of your counseling or disciplinary effort.