Creating and maintaining a professional attitude in the workplace may help you earn the respect of your colleagues and managers, which may position you for an upward trajectory in the office. A professional image goes a long way with clients and customers, and demonstrates respect for yourself, your work and your company.
Start With the Clothes
It’s true that first impressions matter, and to create a professional attitude, you must dress accordingly. If your work place is buttoned-up and formal, then follow suit, wearing professional-looking suits, pantsuits, slacks and a jacket or blouse, keeping accessories muted and tasteful.
If you’re in a business casual environment, then wearing slacks, dress pants, skirts, dresses and dressy-ish tops are appropriate. It’s always wise to have a suit jacket and a nice pair of shoes in your office or cubicle for those occasions when a bit of panache is the special touch that matters.
Even though unusual hair shades, haircuts and “body mods” are becoming more prevalent and accepted in the workplace, pay attention to your environment before showing off these personal touches.
Respectful, Educated Speech
An essential part of maintaining a professional demeanor is the language you use and what you discuss.
- Don’t use slang, curse words or poor grammar
- Don’t interrupt or talk over others
- Keep personal biases and prejudice out of workplace conversation
- Don’t over-share personal information
- Don’t make crude jokes
- Don’t spread gossip
- Don’t tease or make fun of others
Maintain a habit of using simple niceties, such as saying, “Please” and “Thank You” and when you can, hold the door open for others, and express gratitude and share credit where credit is due.
Do Your Job Well
One of the best ways to establish yourself as a professional is to do your job well.
- Meet deadlines
- Avoid being late
- Contribute to group and team projects
- Support colleagues
- Offer praise and thanks
- Don’t monopolize the time of others
- Maintain a tidy work space and clean up after yourself in shared spaces
- If you make a mistake, admit and fix it
- Treat your clients and customers with respect as well, and take pride in your work
You can also build your professional image by volunteering for projects, representing the company in civic, business and community organizations and speaking well of your company in public venues.