Acting professionally at work is an important part of any corporate or work environment. It is also important for your professional and career growth. Most executive managers agree: professional behavior and attitudes often play an important role in who gets hired and promoted, as well as in who gets fired or demoted. If you want to have a successful career – you must know how to act professionally.
Many of us (so called “professionals”) often behave unprofessionally at work without even noticing it. Under certain circumstances this can have consequences. For example, it is great to be super-friendly with your boss, joking around the office, playing practical jokes on your co-workers, etc. Your boss may even think that you are the coolest guy/gal they have ever met. However, would they also think that you can be serious enough to handle an important task when it comes to that promotion you’ve been hoping for? Would they take you seriously? We have asked several professionals if they had to dismiss an employee, would they choose the one who lacks good work habits or the one who lacks appropriate jobs skills. Here is what some of them told us:
“I would dismiss the employee who lacks good work habits. I feel that it is much easier to teach job skills than work habit.”
“I would choose the person with bad work habit. One bad apple is all it needs to spoil them all.”
“I would ask the person to leave who has bad habits as I believe that job skills can be taught to people.”
So what can you do? Try observing your own behavior as you interact with your co-workers, your boss and your subordinates. Make sure that you are not guilty of any unprofessional habits and if you are, try adjusting your behavior. Specifically, try to avoid the following mistakes that many employees often make:
* Arguing or engaging in an open conflict with a co-worker. Disagreeing is Ok but do it respectfully and politely and don’t cross the line. Use good judgment and watch your manners.
* Dressing “too casually”. If you come to work sloppily dressed your looks will portray an image of a disorganized and messy worker. Dress professionally, especially if you your boss is on a conservative side.
* Making comments or jokes that could be offensive to others. Always avoid references to anyone’s personal characteristics such as nationality, race, gender, appearance or religious beliefs at work.
* Raising your voice or acting on emotions. If you’re an emotional person, try to take a break and calm down before an important conversation. People often do and say things driven by a spur of the moment that they later regret.
* Lying. Being deceitful or dishonest will tarnish your reputation for life if you get caught. It is just not worth it.
* Acting superior to others, showing your own self-importance or judging others. Professional behavior is never having a need to prove that you are superior to anyone else.