For many, a lack of office professionalism is a regular occurrence. As a manager, you may run into it with your employees and fellow leadership team members.
In fact, you might be guilty of unprofessional workplace habits, too. These practices break down productivity and team morale. Whether intentional or unintentional, they don’t help to cultivate a healthy work environment.
Explore some of the common – yet critical – areas where you should be especially mindful of displaying professional behavior in the workplace.
Professional communication in a workplace has a huge impact on how you’re perceived by your coworkers, superiors and clients. Not only do poor communication skills hinder your daily productivity, but they also reflect negatively on you as an employee.
What are some examples of unprofessional communication? These could entail anything from emails that lack the necessary level of formality to inquiries that delve too deeply into a coworker’s personal life. Be mindful of both how you communicate in the workplace and how often you do so.
It’s also important to consider employee training materials to teach your team how they should communicate properly.
No worker performs his or her job perfectly all the time. How you manage competency issues – your own, your fellow leaders’ and your employees’ – affects many aspects of your workplace, including culture, retention and morale.
In your efforts to create a professional workplace, first look to your own behavior when you don’t have the skills to perform your job competently. How do you handle aspects of your job that you don’t know how to do? Do you ask questions and gather information so you can take informed action? Or do you stumble your way through a task, possibly getting it incorrect?
These types of competency issues must be addressed with professional development and patience, leading to a more nurturing work environment.
One of the most difficult times to display ideal office professionalism is during conflict, when situations are emotionally charged and challenging to resolve. Not only do you need to interact professionally when you’re the one facing conflict, but you also need to maintain a level of professionalism when you’re the party mediating it.
Keeping a calm, cool and respectful demeanor when conflict arises increases the odds that you’ll solve the problem justly and rapidly. Losing your temper, raising your voice and speaking down to others is never an effective way to overcome workplace conflict.
You’ve probably encountered that one type of customer who’s unbelievably difficult to deal with. Maybe they’re dissatisfied with your product and taking it out on you. They could disagree with a company policy, like the return process or the amount you charge for services, and they’re argumentative because of it.
There’s one important thing to remember about maintaining professionalism in the face of disgruntled customers: Though you have no control over how a customer acts, you do have control over how you act. Continuing to speak respectfully and politely to customers while asking detailed questions about their concerns and listening carefully to their responses often diffuses even the most volatile interactions.
You’re a representative of your company, and the way you conduct yourself on a daily basis reflects on your company’s reputation. Controlling office professionalism goes beyond your actions and incorporates how you and your employees conduct yourselves. Make sure that you’re constantly mindful of the importance of office professionalism – and taking the necessary steps to train others in this critical area.
Preview a free Vital Learning professional development course to learn more about how leaders should conduct themselves in the workplace.