Reader to Reader: How do you tell a coworker she's doing something wrong?


Most techs agree that the approach can vary depending on the coworker, but a positive desire to help along with sharing your own experiences, usually does the trick.


Depending on the relationship you have with the coworker, a copy of an article addressing the situation works great. If you feel comfortable talking to her about it, share examples of how you have handled similar situations. – Alicia Bryant-Mayes, Elegant Nails by Alicia, Denver, Colo.

In a positive way, I’ll say something like, “Hey, I figured out the reason I’m getting those little bubbles, Does that ever happen to you?” I try to turn it around so she feels as if she’s making the discovery with me. If the situation is serious, such as possibly losing a client, then I’ll speak to her honestly and diplomatically. – Lucia Hale, The Look Salon, Round Rock, Texas

It really depends on the person. Certain people are harder to approach than others. If there is something wrong with her technique or application, I’ll suggest a better way. – Debbie Walsh, Just For Me & Body Salon, Slate Hill, N.Y.

If she’s using an improper technique, I’ll tell her that I get better results when I do it “like this.” That way I’m using a positive approach to show her the proper technique. Nobody likes to hear, “Hey, you’re doing that wrong.” – Terri Lancaster, Nails by Design, Kent, Wash.

I was working in a salon and found myself doing a lot of re-dos for a tech who was fresh out of school. She hated the product we used and had a bad attitude, so it was hard to offer help without her becoming defensive. I asked if she’d like to have a full set of nails put on. As I did her enhancements, I snuck in little tips and techniques that I’ve learned. After that, her application was much better, and her morale had improved, too. – Deborah Woodsome, Gene Juarez Salon and Spa, Tacoma, Wash.

I worked with a tech who had been doing nails for 16 years. Within six months of working with her, I saw her cause at least five allergic reactions because she used her product too wet. I’d bring it up from time to time, but to no avail. I finally called the manufacturer’s educator for help. She spoke with the tech who willingly listened to her and now she is trying to correct the problem. – Cindy Davis, Visible Changes Salon, Ridgecrest, Calif.

I’ll talk to her during breaks about what I’ve learned at classes or read in articles, and I will bring in articles that pertain to the problem. I’ll never criticize her technique, but will try to help her discover on her own the things she needs to improve. – Katherine Freeman-Fahrig, Applause Nail Salon, St. Louis, Mo.

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