Dear Coach,

How do you handle it when you have to talk about something personal with an employee? One of the people on my team seems to have a problem with body odor. It has become a distraction to the team. He’s so sweet and so hard working and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I feel I need to address the distraction. Advice?

— Concerned Manager

Lisa Parker | Executive Coach | Heads Up Coaching and ConsultingDear Concerned,

This is not the first time I’ve heard this question and it often puts the manager in a tough spot, especially if the team works in close quarters where our senses are bombarded with everything from noises to scents. Everyone shares responsibility for ensuring the environment contains as few distractions as possible. Sit with your employee in a private place and express your concern. Tell him how much people like him personally, and then tell him straight out, with kindness, that his body odor has become a distraction and he needs to find a stronger deodorant. Reassure him that when he manages the problem, the chatter will likely go away. The conversation should only take a few minutes, but it will make a big difference in overall productivity. Good luck.
— Coach Lisa