Friday, July 06, 2007

How do you say, “You look like a Freaking Train Wreck” Nicely?

I have a receptionist at one of my centers who looks a freaking mess. Since this is my first managerial role, I am trying to figure out how to be diplomatic/ politically correct when it comes to dealing with employees. How do you gently inform someone of his or her unappealing looks and mannerisms?

She’s originally from Iowa and moved to Texas about 15 years ago. Which means you’ve had ample time to adjust to your new environment. She’s in her mid 30’s lives with her sister. I know she likes to party all of time (go to bars).

This particular center I manage has a very snotty, conservative, and old school clientele. I wasn’t responsible for hiring her. It was actually my corporate office who got desperate and put in her in that job. Initially, I told my boss she didn’t fit the profile. Unfortunately, there are jobs where image is important.

Here are my problems with her:

She’s very loud, I’m talking barn yard- out in the middle of nowhere loud. She’s loud when answering the phones, talking to clients or to herself. It’s annoying because she has a deep raspy voice with a hick accent.

Her hair is a mess. She often wears a ponytail. I am suggesting a good wash, dye/rinse, and a flat iron.

Her face is interesting. I am not a huge advocate of make up (but where are those Mary Kay freaks when you need them?). Her eyebrows need waxing/taming or some form of shaping and separation.

Her choice in clothes can be best described as something from the half off bin in Wal-Mart or a 1985 JcPennys catalogue.

She has no ounce of class, professional mannerism, or natural feminity about her.

I don’t mean to appear judgmental or mean. But lets face it society judges everyone based off how you look. If you look like shit, guess how you’ll be treated? I struggle with how to explain or even inform a grown ass woman of her appearance to others. It’s not about being superficial, this is Corporate America and image is all you have.

Have you ever seen a fat and ugly person working at Hooters? How about a fat person working as a trainer for a gym?


Nic said...

I say, sit her down and tell her to watch "The Devil Wears Prada" & "The Princess Diaries"....look for any and all similarities, and get to work.....HahHA! Just kidding. I'm a big softy when it comes to doing the manager thing, but I'm starting to learn that straightforwardness (if that's even a word… don't look right do it? Anyway) is the route to take. Pull her to the side at the end of the day and talk it over. Maybe give her a couple tips. Recommend a few places that won't kill her bank account. As far as the loud personality thing, just remind her that it's a place of business and there's a level of professionalism that needs to be met. If all else fails, and she starts getting rowdy, tell her "Look! Normally I wouldn't even say anything, but the higher-up made this specific request....My hands are tied!"

Let us know how it turns out.


Black Mamba said...

There's really no nice way to say it...regardless of how you phrase it she'll be on the defensive.

My suggestion...tell her there have been customer and/or co-worker complaints on her appearance and go from there.

Best of luck!

The Detective said...

Is there a basic rule about appearance in the policy? If so, refere to that...if not make one up and put it in the book. Be careful though, if she's self identified as anything in a special class, it can get tricky. Try making a blanket statement about appearances (she probably won't get it) then get with her.

Best of luck

T.C. said...

you just have to tell her...there is have been complaints and hopefully she'll WANT to get herself together...good luck, I know you will do well...

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