Back To Compensation Today

How to Deal with Employee Emotions

How to Deal with Employee Emotions in the Workplace

How do you manage your workforce effectively so that you have the expectation of high performance while demonstrating your genuine compassion for an employee? While you may think that you want a little bit of both at all times – both compassion and pushing the employee – this “sweet spot” is not a balance. Compassion and motivation are not at opposite ends of the same spectrum. One does not need to be sacrificed for the sake of the other.

The Sweet Spot

Do you fret over losing your top employees? Feel confident you're paying and managing them better than anyone else in your industry. View our webinar Employee Retention: High Impact Performance Management for Engaging and Retaining Your Top Performers and get ahead of the competition.

It is better to think of performance and employee emotions as complimentary to one another. The fact is that an effective leader must value and emphasize both. Good leaders understand that caring about employees as individuals not only increases their ability to perform, it also creates the workplace where high productivity is more likely to be achieved. It is the recipe for high-performing businesses.

It is difficult to describe specifically what a manager can do to demonstrate more compassion. Obviously, anything you do must be sincere. But if you are one that wants to increase your ability to show compassion, here are a few ideas.

How to Show Compassion for Employees as a Leader

1. Provide feedback to your employees on a regular basis, apart from the formal performance review, let them know they are doing a good job and you are pleased with their work.

Learn More About Our Compensation Software


2. When you have to make a tough decision that impacts people and their jobs, ask them if they have any questions or concerns. Make sure that you give them enough time to respond. Then tell them that, to the best of your ability, you have considered the impact of your decision has on them and that you understand that there may be hard feelings or it will be difficult for them.

Tell them that you understand how they are feeling and that it makes the decision difficult knowing how it will impact them, but it is the right thing to do for the business. Tell them that you really appreciate their support going forward. Remember that this must be done sincerely.

3. When employees seem upset about something, ask them what is going on. If it is work-related, try to talk it through with them. Most of the time, people feel appreciated just being listened to. If there is anything you can do that they request, try to do it as long as it doesn’t detract from getting the job done.

4. If an employee shares something that is upsetting to them and it is not work related, tell them that you are sorry to hear about what they are going through. Remind them that, as their boss, you have certain responsibilities mainly to make sure that they keep performing their job. Your organization may have other policies regarding the disclosure of personal information that you should make sure you are following.

Being a great leader means that you are aware of when you are in the “sweet spot” – where you are facilitating high performance and showing a concern for the individual as a person.

Great leaders know that they can expect high levels of performance from their employees and get it. But, they also realize that the more they share their genuine compassion for people, the more effective and successful they will be as leaders. Finding this “sweet spot” is part of the journey of leadership and the success of business.


John Sporleder
Sporleder Human Capital

Do you have any salary range topics you would like to see covered here on Compensation Today? Write us a

Are you doing a salary review or compensation benchmarking project? PayScale provides up-to-date, external salary market data you can use right now. And, it is specific to the education, skills set and experience your employees. Give a PayScale demo a try.

Related Posts 


Leave a Reply

Notify of
Start the Transformation

We can help you bring modern compensation to life in your organization.