In this post, we’re going to discuss 7 tips for maintaining a professional attitude at work. Sometimes, maintaining that professional attitude at work is very difficult indeed. While it may be temporarily satisfying to tell someone what you really think in the heat of the moment, it is not necessarily in your best interest to do so.
I’ve probably made every single one of these mistakes in my younger years and some of them are pretty cringe-worthy. I hope that they will save you some of the pain and embarrassment that I went through.
7 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Attitude at Work
- Email, Phone Calls, Voice Mail, and Text Messages are not an instant form of communication and do not have to be answered immediately. Sometimes it is best to craft your answer, and wait 24 hours before sending it. I have found that turning off notifications for emails, and sticking to a strict schedule for checking them keeps me sane, as I now get over 200 emails per day on just one of my accounts. You can spend literally all of your time managing emails, texts, and phone calls if you’re not careful. Don’t allow them to consume every single second of your time. Making sure you craft your answers, especially when you have a tough answer, can be a huge win in your job.
- If someone asks you for an answer, ask to think it over, and let them know you will get back to them, within X amount of time. Most things that require analysis don’t require an instant answer. Too often I’ve felt pressured to say “yes” to something that was not in my (or the company’s) best interest. By taking some time to think it over, mull the numbers, and really contemplate it, I’ve saved myself countless hours of aggravation.
- Bite your tongue. If someone makes an outrageous comment, it may be best to let it slide, and come back to it later, when you’re in a more calm frame of mind. Sometimes things are best left alone entirely. You don’t want to be the person who flies off the handle for every single thing, whether perceived or imagined.
- There is absolutely NO place for violence in the workplace. Be careful to maintain that workplace “mask” in place. Do not swing things, or hit your hand with your pen, or otherwise demonstrate aggression physically. Make a point of leaving the situation at the earliest opportunity. Do. Not. Engage. I once went into a meeting that was politically charged, and one of the guys (who was 6’5″ and 250 lbs) sat there and swung a golf club into his hand smacking it over and over again. It was a very intimidating move, and was completely inappropriate. Also, some things are best left unsaid in the workplace. Composure is the name of the game!
- Be aware of your body’s demands. This means, if you are about to head into a long meeting, and you have not eaten, eat something with protein, like nuts. Avoid sugar lows. Make sure to use the restroom. Make sure you are well rested. It is much harder to react appropriately to a situation when you are tired, cranky, and otherwise irritable from easily remedied issues. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen melt down, or make themselves miserable because they didn’t eat, didn’t use the restroom, etc.
- Let some things slide. In today’s American Society, there can be the temptation to get HR involved in every situation, and consider lawsuits for every infraction, real or imagined. Realize that for every time you make a report to HR, you are creating a reputation for yourself. You must decide if it is worth the cost. There are some times when things should simply be allowed to slide, as they are harmless. Some things should be called out and handled sternly, but you don’t want to create a situation where you are perceived to be the problem child.
- Remind yourself that many times the offense is in the mind of the person offended. It is possible and even likely that absolutely no offense was intended by the other party. Ask yourself if you think that the offense was intentional. I think that in most cases, the answer is an honest “no”.
And one bonus tip: Make sure that you are dressed work-place appropriate. If you get to wear shorts, fabulous, but they need to be relatively modest. Unless you are in a profession that requires it, cleavage should be modest, and skirts should cover your… assets. Be aware of the image you’re portraying. Dressing up for work is not the same thing as dressing up for an evening on the town.