If there’s one way to sabotage your own success in the workplace, it’s by failing to conduct yourself in a professional manner.
Yes, modern workspaces have grown a bit more ‘relaxed’ in recent decades.
In fact, even the term ‘business casual’ has shifted much more toward the casual end of the spectrum than the business end.
However, where behavior, habits, and conduct are concerned, professionalism still lies close to the heart of success.
And in this post, you’re going to learn five tips for embracing a greater level of professionalism, without sacrificing on authenticity.
Let’s dive in and talk about it.
1. Know Your Stuff
Let’s face it.
Nobody will lose the respect of their peers, customers, and management faster than someone who shows up without knowing what they’re doing, or without at least some kind of a game plan for success.
Nowadays, it is more important than ever to know what you’re doing.
Flying by the seat of your pants just won’t cut it anymore.
Instead, you need to show up prepared with a plan of action and prove to the world that you’re the person with the skills to get this job done right the first time.
2. Blend Boundaries With Kindness
In a world where it’s getting easier and easier to communicate quickly and efficiently through digital communication, boundaries are more important than ever.
The temptation to send rude emails, for example, is sometimes very strong.
It can also be difficult to figure out how to deal with issues like passive aggression, and just a general lack of kindness when communication happens so easily and frequently.
Therefore, to stand out as a true professional in your field, it’s always the best course of action to blend healthy boundaries with kindness and respect.
In other words, don’t be afraid to put up boundaries and to have those difficult discussions when they need to happen.
But never stoop to the level of being passive-aggressive or overtly negative in your communication.
For example: When we hire a content writer, it’s always our first priority to deal with any issues in a straightforward, yet gentle manner. We want our writers to succeed. And we create this reality by striving to do our part to empower them and communicate as professionals.
Being straightforward is a great thing, but always be straightforward with a professional and positive tone.
If someone is worth working with at all, they’re worth being kind to.
That’s a lesson you can take to the bank.
3. Work With Integrity
Another thing that’s sorely lacking among many professionals today is the concept of integrity.
Integrity is simply this:
The act of being who you say you’ll be, and doing what you say you’ll do.
When you act with integrity, people are much more likely to come to know, like, and trust you.
This is seen as more professional, and it also makes you more effective at what you do.
4. Be Empathetic
This is especially important for leadership.
If your decisions are going to influence the lives of other people, then it’s crucial to enact your professional legacy with a healthy dose of empathy.
Always try to think of how your actions will impact the lives of other people.
This doesn’t mean that you should curb your effectiveness just to be more likable, or to be buddies with the people you work with at the company’s expense.
But it does mean to take responsibility for making sure that your decisions will lead to positive results for not only the business but also the people who work for that business—as well as the customers who support it.
5. Always Deliver Your Best
At the end of the day, professionalism could actually be summed up as simply this.
Always bringing better results and value to the equation than you’re being paid for.
This isn’t to say that you should allow yourself to be taken advantage of by always over-giving and remaining underpaid.
And it isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to get the best deal for yourself that you can get.
But it’s not even about that.
This is about personal, professional pride, and always being committed to doing your absolute best on every project.
When you always strive to do your best, and you refuse to tolerate any less than that in yourself, you open the door to greater opportunities—and you advertise exactly how professional you are and how much of an asset you are to the other people you’re working with.
It really matters.
There you have it.
Five tips for succeeding and being more professional in the workplace.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are many ways to broadcast your professionalism to your peers, leadership, and customers.
But these five tips will get you started on some of the most foundational principles.
Now get out there and make it happen!