Ever been on staff with someone who could melt your face with their bad breath? Ever worked next to someone with body odor that made you want to leave? Anyone on your staff have disgusting public habits (ex: nail biting, nose picking, wedgie pulling, ear cleaning) that there was no way to know about when you hired them?
How in the heck are you supposed to tell these people to stop it? It’s the church and we love them and God loves them. Which is exactly why we have to tell them. We have the obligation to help them be better…and unfortunately, it’s horrible.
Here are Josh’s practical steps on stopping offensive employee behaviors and still loving them. Men only meet with men and women only meet with women…while I do joke around a lot, the following format is actually how I have approached this conversation.
- Set up a meeting with them about “some personal things”. (This way they know their job is not in jeopardy)
- Meet with them one on one. (keeps the public embarrassment factor down)
- Open the meeting with thanking them for meeting and complimenting them on something they truly have done well or have contributed recently.
- Tell them why you are having the quick meeting. (Ex: “Joe, thank so much for meeting with me to discuss a personal matter today. I want to make this really quick so you can get back to work. I have noticed that when we talk you have a strong odor coming from your mouth and it is enough that I wanted to talk to you about it. I care a lot about you and how you are perceived, and as uncomfortable as it is for me to tell you that, I care more that someone tell you out of love for you, than I do about how comfortable I am right now. I know that is kind of out of the blue, but do you understand what I mean?”)
- Reassure them that you think they are a wonderful person/ contribute a lot…etc. (This is really to just help them know it is not a performance related issue and their job is not in jeopardy right now)
- Ask them if there is anything you can do to help. If, they say no, then you can say “thanks so much for taking 3 minutes to talk…I know you have a ton to do so I won’t take up any more of your time.”
- Walk out together.
- Don’t be awkward the next day. You just told a friend you care about them.
Yeah, it’s no fun. But, it is so much better than everyone having to deal with it everyday. Take one for the team. Oh, and make sure you wear deodorant to the meeting.