How to Handle Workplace Embarrassment

An embarrassing situation call attention to a person's vulnerability, whether the person is a supervisor, worker, supplier or boss customer. You may find yourself facing an unpleasant task of deciding whether to tell someone about the cause of potential embarrassment so he can rectify it, or making yourself uncomfortable for not taking action. According to a career service director he emphasizes the importance of handling delicate situation well, skilled communication improves advancement potential.

How people embarrass themselves without realizing what they're doing:


  • Professional missteps
    • Wearing unmatched socks at an important meeting
    • Delivering a presentation from a file about another organization
    • Walking into a meeting with razor nicks and bits of clinging tissues from the morning's shave
    • Listening to a friend criticize his boss, just as the ogre walks out of another stall
  • Personal hygiene
    • Excessive perfume or cologne
    • Food particles lodges between teeth or on the face
    • Dandruff, unclean nose, breath or body odor
    • Blood stain on a woman,s skirt or pants
  • Sartorial blunders
    • Open fly or skirt or dress zipper
    • Clothing with dog or car fur or food stains
    • Slacks that reveal too much when the person bends over or stoops
    • Tight and short skirt
    • Brassiere, slip, shoulder pads or safety pins holding them together peeking out fron under clothing
  • Communication slips
    • Poor written or spoken grammar
    • Repetitious phrase that distracts everyone from absorbing what the person is saying

How to Tell the Person

Knowing knowing embarrassing about a person puts you in the awkward position of having power you don't want. Would you want someone to tell you if you were embarrassing yourself? Other might let you walk around your workplace all day, embarrassing yourself and becoming the blunt of jokes over your seeming lack of professionalism. According to a psychologist, the problem here isn't image. Who cares whether a cleaning tag shows on a garment, a jacket is ripped or a sagging hem. The concern here is tge public discomfort the person may experience. If you act upon your knowledge, you'll make working easier for the person.

Steps to Take

Within a seconds you'll probably decide of spotting the cause of potential embarrassment whether to tell the person about it. The situation will be more complicated if you don't know the person well, and if he's your boss or a customer. Or if the problem is disturbing or too personal. According to an associate professor, devised an indirect way to help an employee in another organization overcome the roadblock he was facing that kept him from a promotion. Consider asking someone who knows the person well to be the messenger.

A talented computer programmer missed a promotion. He didn't know that his clothing was inappropriate for the new position. On his birthday, his friend gave him a copy of a magazine titled, Dress For Success, he got the hint and got promoted. If you're on the same sex, toss in some humor. Jokes help the person to laugh at himself in front of other people. More intimate problems such as a stain on clothing, open zipper, poor grammar, you can best handle by speaking directly but quietly to the person, out of everyone's earshot.

These tactics aren't guaranteed to eliminate but your listener will note your sensivitity and thoughtfulness.


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