Bosses and workers alike need to project as professional an image as possible to be taken seriously and advance their careers. While we all have character flaws that are best reserved for a night out with friends, some people have real issues to explore when it comes to the level of professionalism they project.
If it seems like nobody’s taking you seriously or that your relationships just aren’t advancing with the people you work with, maybe it’s time to start examining your behavior a little more closely and identify whether you possess any of these 5 professional faux pas:
1. You constantly isolate yourself
Isolation can come in a number of ways, and they’re all basically bad. Regardless if you have the best of intentions or not.
- Do you skip lunch with everyone and go off on your own, or decide to work through your break so you don’t get stuck staying a minute after the proverbial end-of-day bell rings?
- Perhaps you’re unapproachable because you always have a set of headphones or earbuds on and nobody can get through to you without physically assaulting you in the process?
- Are you NEVER the one to show the new workers around and make them feel welcome, instead grunting and turning to your monitor whenever they’re nearby?
These and many more isolation activities may seem like they’ve got a smart reason behind them, but they mostly say “he/she sucks” to everyone else. Inter-office bonding is necessary to keep a happy and effective workplace humming. You never know, you might actually NEED them someday!
2. You’re Ms. “I’m knockin’ off early to beat traffic.”
Everyone likes to get off work on time. Some of us like to skip out a bit early to beat traffic – even if it’s just the traffic leaving the parking lot at work! Or, perhaps you’re just a clock-watcher who spends the last half-hour (or more) of the day dreaming about that moment when you’ll finally get to leave the building and go home?
Either way, knocking off early is a clear sign of disrespect to all those people who try to work as hard as they can for their paycheck, and who respect the concept of getting to work on time and staying until their shift’s over.
Not to mention, everyone who stays, including the bossman or woman, will notice this behavior and assume you don’t take your career or business seriously. Maybe you don’t?
3. You gossip like a chain-smoking bingo Queen
It’s so easy to get sucked into a juicy bit of gossip now and then. However, those who do it too much tend to lose favor quickly with those who take respecting others seriously. Office gossip, for the most part, is entirely unprofessional.
Worse, when something embarrassing or downright untruthful starts going around, the first person everyone’s going to blame will surely be you, meaning you’re going to make more than a few enemies as time goes on. This, even if most of your coworkers are seemingly nice to your face.
Make it a habit to avoid gossip. Tell people straight that you respect them and expect the same treatment – that you’ll not talk about others when they’re not there to defend themselves. That’s it, end of discussion!
4. You talk about your personal life way too much
This can be so much worse than gossip. In fact, doing this makes you a prime rumor target for the rest of the team.
Talking endlessly about your personal problems, even your triumphs can be a good thing if you’re making friends with your coworkers. However, droning on and on about your wife or husband, or ceaselessly doting about your children is unprofessional in an office environment.
So is talking about all your deep dark secrets, your worst fears, your sex life in college, and so on. It’s hard to take someone seriously when you know they have some very strange obsessive-compulsive disorder, or that they like to go home after work and play with their doll collection!
5. You have a bad attitude about everything
This unprofessional character trait can, and probably will be the hardest to change if you’re afflicted with it.
It’s not just complaining about your home life that can make you look unprofessional. Constantly being negative about things at work can be just as bad (or worse). You know, like those sarcastic comments about having to go to yet another “crappy” meeting with the “crappy” boring boss.
Same with comments about how you’re sick of talking to that dumb customer “Jen” who does nothing but complain about your work or your company’s products, etc. The office complainer is someone that most dread talking to. This will leave you constantly out of the loop and feeling isolated from the team and what’s going on.
Then there’s the Grumpy Gus’s and Gertrude’s of the office. They don’t just have a bad attitude; they actually project negativity and make everyone around them feel like crud too. The pursed lips, intense negative stare, chin up in the air kind of attitude just makes you someone others want to avoid, and in general: makes you someone that everyone hopes will get fired sooner or later – perhaps going to the extent of trying to make that happen by sabotaging your work – or bringing up how much of a drain you are on the company around management whenever possible.
It just simply isn’t enough to show up on time and do your work. How you interact with your team is a reflection of your desire to be there, how much you enjoy your job. When you have these bad habits, you project a lack of professionalism that ensures you’ll never be entirely respected and likely also will be passed up for promotions as your career moves forward.
Share your own experiences with these professional personality flaws and how you changed them in yourself or dealt with them in others.