One of the most uncomfortable moments at work is when you have to make a correction to an employee who is following a poor personal hygiene regime. You need to say this with certainty, you know that the other person will not like. Even if it is hard to believe, no one finds it pleasant to tell an employee that something is not right and that they need to change it.
Whether we like it or not, if what we have to say to our employee is going to help them and the rest of the team, we should not hesitate to do it. To be precise, telling the right thing at the right time will be a benefit for your employee ’s professional and personal improvement. Hence, we must communicate it, but with the best way not to hurt their feelings and the message hits the right spot, adding a sincere commitment to change.
One of the barriers that we find when it comes to doing it effectively is the communication that we use since we can do it in several ways like an aggressive, passive or assertive way.
In the first case of talking to your employees about their poor personal hygiene, it is somewhat aggressive and excessively direct way, the person who says what he thinks with more or less difficulty, does not have problems correcting and giving orders. He may or may not like this approach but he certainly follows it. In fact, too often, he says it in a strong tone and at an inappropriate time.
This style of communication about poor personal hygiene in this method is closed, the person who is being corrected is not listened to, the conversation is interrupted and monopolized. His non-verbal communication is threatening, the speaker’s tone is very high, he may even use abusive language and operates with the mindset, “I win, you lose”.
In the second case, it is the boss who has difficulty expressing disagreements. This is a situation where during a communication the speaker apologizes constantly, allows the others to make the decisions, his tone of voice is weak, he tends to delay everything he can in these situations, he has difficulty demonstrating his position and he feels uncomfortable too.
The third of the cases is that of assertiveness, a relationship model that consists of knowing one’s rights and defending them but respecting others as well. It is a form of conscious, congruent, direct, balanced expression whose purpose is to communicate our ideas and feelings, or defend our legitimate rights, without the intention of hurting or harming the listener who is facing poor personal hygiene issues. Acting from self-confidence instead of emotionality, anxiety or anger, is the key to assertive communication. In this communication, you listen, establish limits, establish observations, make judgments, express yourself honestly and directly, consider the feelings of others, be confident, decisive, proactive, motivate and understand.
This is also considered to be the best way to explain your employee about their poor personal hygiene issues.
Here are some tips for when that moment comes to tell someone who smells bad or follows a poor personal hygiene:
- Be clear that it is for their own good and that of the whole team and, as the listener is responsible, for what he or she should do should do, and how soon. Make them understand that, it is for their own benefit.
- Exercise the leadership with your employees. Be a leader and not a boss. Remember, they want to do something or change something because they have made the decision, not because you ordered it, that way the decision will have much more effective.
- If there is something related to poor personal hygiene you want to communicate to your employees and it will help them to improve both professionally and personally, be courageous and communicate it, but always from a leadership position and not like a boss.
- Focus on the behavior, not on the person. He has done something wrong, But it doesn’t make him a bad person.
- Choose a good time to do it, that way you will control your emotions much calmly because when we are angry, we are not so objective.
- If you are still not sure how to talk it out, write what you want to say, practice it and transmit it with a firm and safe tone. Prepare your possible answers to their questions safely.
- While talking about poor personal hygiene, always keep a constant eye contact.
- Give priority to that moment, forget about the mobile and everything else. Now you are with your employee. Transmit him that he deserves that time.
- Please always, always, praise in public, but corrections in private.
- Once you have expressed your criticism, ask him in what way he thinks the situation should be handled. Find your commitment.
And remember, it is very important to lead your employee with how important they are for the organization, then with what you want them to do and, thirdly, very much in third place with what we want to say.