Q: What is the most discrete way that I can speak with one of my employees about his body odor. How can I politely ask him to use deodorant?
A: The person closest to the “offender” should take him aside where no one can overhear and say something to the effect of, “Jim, if I had a problem of some sort I would want someone to tell me. I’m hoping you feel the same way, because I wanted to share with you something that is a problem. I don’t want you to be embarrassed or worry about it, but I’m sure you don’t realize that lately you have had a pretty strong body odor and it is noticeable. It could be something medical, or even some product you are using, but it is not pleasant. I wanted you to know because you are so terrific that I’d hate for something like this to detract from who you are.” The brave person saying all of this should then smile and have something ready to change the subject in order to enable him to part without awkwardness. It isn’t easy, but it is a kindness, and the truth is we all would appreciate someone letting us know if we were offending others.