Professionalism is more than just how you look! It’s a way of speaking, behaving and even thinking that helps a person to be successful in the workplace. There is incredible payoff if you maintain professionalism in the workplace.

Here are five ways that you show professionalism in the workplace and some tips for incorporating these practices every single day at work!

1. Workplace Rules and Expectations
Even though you will likely have a supervisor managing over you in your job, you will be expected to use self-management skills. Supervisors want employees who can work independently and manage themselves so that they can focus on their own work.

Self-management means that you manage your own time and talents in order to reach your goals. In order to self-manage yourself you need to follow all workplace rules and expectations.

Think about these workplace rules and expectations tips:

  • Follow all workplace rules
  • Complete all tasks and projects
  • Understand what’s expected of you

2. Personal Responsibility
Personal responsibility is critical to your success in the workplace. Personal responsibility is the level of commitment you are willing to make in setting and achieving your goals. In other words, personal responsibility means being responsible for your actions, words and, ultimately, your performance at work.

Personally responsible employees understand that they are in full control of themselves. The good news is, this means that only you can take credit for your successes. On the other hand, it also means that only you can take the blame for your failures.

Think about these examples of personal responsibility:

  • Admitting you made a mistake (and learning from it)
  • Taking credit for successful projects
  • Following-through on projects and tasks

3. Workplace Ethics
Just as it is important to be ethical in everyday life, it is important to be ethical in the workplace. Ethics are moral principles that help you decide between right and wrong. Ethics are the unwritten rules that you refer to when figuring out how to make a good decision.

When you find yourself at the crossroads between right and wrong, your code of ethics should lead you down the right path. Sometimes it’s easy to do the right thing. The situation is black and white and the ethical solution is obvious. Other times, the ethical thing to do is not so obvious. The solution might be hidden within some grey area. In situations like these, the stronger your ethics, the easier it will be to make the right decision.

Think about these workplace ethics tips:

  • Always follow company policy and report anything that doesn’t follow policy
  • Ask for help if you’re not sure how to handle a situation
  • Your workplace and personal ethics may differ a little bit and that’s okay

4. Physical Appearance
You only have 7 seconds to make a first impression one someone. Once someone has an impression of you, it can be hard to change it. Your physical appearance is one of the biggest factors that people consider when forming an impression of you. Even though physical appearance is not the best way to judge a person’s character, it is human nature to form an opinion based on what we see in front of us.

Customers, clients and your supervisors probably have higher standards for your physical appearance than what you would consider acceptable for say, a Saturday afternoon get together with your friends.

Think about these workplace physical appearance:

  • Always dress work appropriate
  • Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene
  • Remember when you’re at work that you represent your company

5. Language
Language is an important aspect of communication whether you are talking with a coworker in the privacy of your own office or to a customer. Practice using language that is appropriate for the workplace in your everyday conversations so that you get into the habit of sounding professional.

The way you talk says a lot about you and your level of professionalism. Everything from the words you use to the topics you talk about leads people to form an opinion about you. Remember, once you say something, it is impossible to take those words back and undo what you said. That is why it’s so important to watch what you say in the workplace. You never know who is listening and how they might react to what you say.

Think about these workplace language tips:

  • Keep politics at home
  • Avoid swearing
  • Keep topics at work appropriate
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