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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP211: Bro You Stink

Thanks for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! It’s one thing to address performance issues, but what do you do if your employee has a personal issue you need to confront? In today’s podcast, we’re talking about how to speak to an employee about their body odor and how you can use this discussion format to help you with other difficult conversations.


Decide to take action

If you notice someone’s body odor, the rest of your team notices too. They are watching to see if you respond, and it will impact your leadership brand.


Acknowledge that there isn’t a “good” way to do it.

Addressing any negative habit/behavior is uncomfortable. No one wants to talk about body odor, but you can speak to your employee in a way that is respectful and non-judgemental.


Be clear, simple, and to the point.

You want your conversation to follow this framework: Behavior, Impact, and Get Agreement (BIG)

1. Describe the behavior without making it personal.

2. Describe the impact the behavior is having on the company.

3. Get agreement that they understand what you are saying and are willing to make a change.


Difficult conversations are rarely fun, but you get to decide whether to address the problem or deal with the negative consequences. Your employee may not like it at the moment, but your employees may someday thank you for these conversations.


Q: What conversations do you tend to put off? Why? How can you apply the BIG framework to help you address that situation? Describe a time when someone had to address one of your behaviors. What do you think they did well? What helped you the most about receiving this negative feedback?


Application Activities:

  1. Role-play this scenario with someone you trust (a partner, friend, or coworker). The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be when these situations arise. You could also practice addressing your own bad habits or negative behaviors and think about how you would want someone to talk to you about them.

  2. What issues have you been allowing to go unaddressed on your team? You may not have any problems with body odor. But do you have an employee who always sulks or one who lashes out in anger? Is there one person who consistently does not pull their weight? Think through why you have allowed their behavior to go unaddressed. Using the BIG framework, how could you address it? Commit to dealing with the issue in a conversation within the next business week.

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