DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a lowly communications professional at a technology firm. When we have video calls with upper-level people, our wonderful leader spits tobacco juice into a clear plastic bottle. On camera.
He spits elegantly, but I still want him to stop because it’s gross. He’s chewed tobacco since he was a young man, and when we’re in the office, he also does it elegantly and turns away when he spits. Quite unobtrusive. But when he does it on camera, it makes me, his communications adviser, want to hit him with a large stick.
I am glad we’re working from home. How does one politely notify a senior executive that he has a disgusting habit?
GENTLE READER: No matter how wonderful your leader is, Miss Manners doubts anyone’s ability to spit elegantly.
As a lowly employee, your ability to correct his behavior is limited. But as his communications adviser -- with the best interests of the company, and your leader, at heart -- you have greater latitude. Explain to him that some of the customers have expressed concern about his on-camera habit. You wonder if he is aware that this new technology makes every action more noticeable than it is in person, and you were sure he would want to know.