Cultivating an Attitude of Professionalism at Work

Professionalism is everything! It’s backed by actions and attitude, not only what you say. It’s an intangible currency that can keep you moving forward in your career. 

If you want to be respected and treated professionally, you must ensure that you conduct yourself in a way that doesn’t exhibit traits such as a bad attitude, negativity, selfishness, or rebellion against company culture. 

Let’s discuss a few ways to cultivate an attitude of professionalism in the workplace.

Understand the Organizations Expectations

Every business and organization has a unique structure and culture. The leaders of the business have established certain expectations from that culture. While some of these expectations should be a part of the company’s brand guidelines, they are often unwritten rules, and being professional is following these rules. 

Some office cultures are causal and don’t frown upon popping into a co-worker’s office with quick questions. Others rely heavily on protocol for everything from methods of communication, following a chain of command, and even when to take breaks.  

If you’re unsure of the expectations, the best way to gather information is to simply ask. You can phrase your questions as “What do people do about [insert subject in question]? 

This is not only expected, but it’s good to let your employer know you want to invest time in learning the ropes. 

Accept Feedback Graciously

Feedback, whether it’s a performance evaluation or a casual conversation, is an important aspect of learning. The way you receive that feedback will speak volumes about your professionalism. The key is to accept the feedback graciously and gratefully. 

Feedback in the work environment can come from a colleague, a supervisor, or a client, and is meant to help you do your job better. Even if it is critical use the feedback to learn, grow, and gain valuable experience. 

When receiving feedback remember that body language is part of your communication as well. Make sure to uncross your arms and smile as well as avoid any other defensive postures. And remember to always thank the other party for their feedback. 

Stay Away from Office Gossip and Politics

Leave the drama for television. The workplace is not the stage for drama auditions or participating in office politics. It will ultimately harm your reputation and diminish your professional image. 

It is completely acceptable to politely remove yourself from these types of conversations or to state that you don’t wish to take part in them. 

Dress the Part

People will notice your appearance as much as your attitude. Companies usually have an established dress code, so make sure you follow it. This is also part of following organizational expectations. If you dress inappropriately or ignore the dress code, it says that you believe the rules don’t apply to you. It is counterproductive to an image of professionalism. 

If your company doesn’t have an established dress code, you should still take care to look neat and groomed every day. Take pride in your appearance, don’t wear wrinkled clothes or be covered in pet hair. Pride in appearance can equate to pride in your work. 

Keep Notes and Records

No matter how long you’ve been in your position, having accurate records ensures you are perceived as knowledgeable and professional. Make sure to take notes at meetings, during and after phone calls, and whenever information is conveyed. You can use these records for future planning. 

If you’re new to your position and attending a meeting, keep notes of where people sit and what their names and positions within the company. This will help you learn more about the company and identify additional sources for information and navigating the company. 

Proofread Your Communications

Communication is crucial in cultivating professionalism. So when you’re taking notes, crafting electronic communications, and company documents, make sure to use correct spelling and proper grammar. People will judge your communications. Anything that is written is on the record forever. Sarcasm and off-hand remarks don’t belong in these communications. It’s also impossible for people to understand intentions or read body language and tone in your written communications. 

To assist with crafting your communications, look into web extensions and apps to make sure your message is clear and effective.  

Don’t just incorporate these suggestions into your daily protocol, it’s essential to make these habits and use them consistently. When you do, your colleagues and supervisors will view you as having a good attitude and the right perspective, which will carry you far in your career. 

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