My hot-shot sales guy is a smelly pain in the arse. Help!

This article first appeared on November 23, 2007.

Dear Aunty B

One of the admin staff has just resigned and indicated that the young sales manager was one of the reasons. My problem is he is a hot-shot!

He creates leads, closes deals and is great at establishing a rapport with clients.

My very young sales manager is an arrogant pain who just stops short of bullying. He big notes himself, steals others ideas, exaggerates his successes and passes off any problems as other people’s. He is always talking about money.

Don’t tell me to talk to him, as I have had several chats asking him to change.

I don’t want to let him go but worry about the affect he is having on our team.

He also has a very strong body odour!

What do you suggest?

Robert V,
Darling Harbor


Dear Robert,

Phew. Glad he is your problem and not mine. First the body odour. Tell him. It’s that simple. Point out that when you were young, you had a similar problem. Then just to follow up, make sure he gets deodorant in the Kris Kringle.

I think he sounds insecure. You are dealing with someone who really doubts his own ability. Look a little deeper to try and see what his problem is. See if you can try and address his psychological need for reassurance.

Explain to others that he is not a pain in the arse but an arse in pain, and ask for their help.

If you can persuade everyone to feel sorry for him, they may be able to ignore his needy behaviour.

You could always torture him by increasing his budgets and moving him into a very difficult sales territory. But I don’t think that’s the answer. Set an example and be kind. But as soon as his behaviour moves towards bullying, threaten to sack him. People like him are wimps who push the line, but also toe the line when you threaten.

Good luck,

Aunty B

Aunty B is kicking back on holiday, but her advice is timeless, as evidenced by this Aunty B classic from 2007. To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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