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How to handle a ‘stinky’ situation

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

The situation: you see an opportunity to improve customer service. You’d like to talk to your boss (the CEO) about it.

Unfortunately, though, it means singling out the receptionist, who is a friend of yours but has a bad case of body odor. You think she makes the entire company look bad, as the “face” of the organization.

How can you talk to the boss without sounding like you’re bashing another employee?

Alec Hudnut, a CEO for 13 years and currently with Evolution Robotics Retail, gives his take:

Before coming to the boss about a problem, try handling it yourself. Whether you succeed or fail at changing her habits, you’ll look better when you tell the boss you’ve tried.

“I like people who try to fix it themselves and come to me as a last resort.

“If it’s unresolvable, then you can come talk to me,” Hudnut said on a recent podcast of Stever Robbins’ “Get-It-Done Guy.”

Here’s what to say to your friend, the receptionist:

“Sandy, because I’m your friend, I’m going to say something that is really difficult. But I know if the roles were reversed, I would want you to say something to me. So here it goes: I don’t think you are aware of it, but you have a problem, and it has to do with body odor. Some of us have noticed and we’re worried that it may have an effect on your advancement in the company. I’m telling you this only to help. Can we talk?”

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