Professional behaviour is a form of etiquette in the workplace that is linked primarily to respectful and courteous conduct. Many organisations will have a formal code of professional conduct in place, but many do not. Believe it or not, professionalism and ethical behaviour can benefit your career and improve your chances of future success.
Being conscious of how you treat co-workers and clients, and ensuring a positive workplace attitude can help you to improve your productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. In general, professional behaviour comes down to ethics and dedication. Although possessing the necessary skills to do your job effectively is essential, having an understanding of what constitutes professional behaviour will help you develop your own high standard of work habits that could contribute to future career success.
Here are our 12 tips:
1. Honesty: always act openly. Never share confidential, privileged or client information unnecessarily, and don’t tolerate or justify dishonest conduct by others. Report any conflicts of interest immediately.
2. Respect: maintain a respectful attitude to others at all times, even during stressful times. Don’t lash out at colleagues or disrespect anyone (senior or otherwise). Always use appropriate language (verbally and in writing) and don’t swear. Apologise for errors or misunderstandings, and keep your personal opinions of others private.
3. Meetings: arrive on time and be prepared by reviewing the agenda or meeting notes in advance. Make contributions to discussions where appropriate, and don’t take over when someone else is trying to talk. Respect the meeting convenor or chair, follow the appropriate format, and ask considerate questions.
4. Communication: speak clearly and in language others can easily understand, act courteously and use good manners when engaging with others. Follow any company guidelines regarding content, read information provided before asking questions, listen to others when they are talking or explaining, and don’t engage in office gossip. Be careful of language and tone in written communications, and don’t copy in others unnecessarily when emailing (but don’t intentionally exclude others either).
5. Time Management: don’t be late to work, instead arrive a few minutes early to settle, get your coffee and greet co-workers. Follow lunch and break schedules by leaving and returning on time. At the beginning of every day, review your schedule so you know what time you have to be where, and what workload you have on that day.
6. Integrity: act ethically and do the ‘right’ thing at all times, always report suspicious people in the office, misconduct, or other violations of company policy. Remain impartial keeping any personal bias and intolerances out of the workplace.
7. Safety: understand the company safety policy and report any maintenance or other hazards immediately.
8. Corporate Goals: have an understanding of your company’s missions, goals and objectives and the role that you play in achieving those.
9. Dress: dress in clean, appropriate clothing. Follow any dress code standards or guidelines and if there aren’t any, avoid clothing that is revealing, provocative, or includes offensive language or pictures.
10. Accountability: take responsibility for your work and actions, do what needs to be done, and don’t leave it for others. Be honest if things go wrong, or you don’t finish something on time, then work out an effective resolution to move forward. Seek help early if you need it.
11. Teamwork: you often need to work with people that you may not necessarily like. Set aside differences to work well with others since teamwork sometimes even outweighs performance – with people who work well with others often advancing based on that aspect.
12. Commitment: dedication and a positive action to your role and the organisation can carry you a long way. Plus, dedication from employees is often contagious with others being inspired to go the extra effort themselves.
Essentially, being professional is about giving your best at all times. Think about how your behaviour will be perceived by others and make sure to understand and follow company codes of conduct where they exist.