Ethics and Professionalism

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Professionalism in the Workplace

Create and maintain a high level of professionalism in your workplace by applying some simple, yet important guidelines. Educational consultant James Stenson describes professionalism as "a set of internalized character strengths and values directed toward high-quality service to others through one's work." Take a quick, downloadable quiz from the Goals Institute to measure professionalism in your organization, then apply these tips as needed.

Professionalism is defined as one's conduct at work. In spite of the word's root, this quality is not restricted to those in occupations we describe as "professions," typically those which require a high level of education and have high earnings. Cashiers, janitors and waitressescan demonstrate a high level of this trait, just as doctors, lawyers or engineers can display a low level of it, and vice versa.

As with good health, the absence of professionalism is usually more obvious than its presence. Who will notice whether you have this quality or not? Your boss definitely will as will your customers and co-workers, and it can affect your ability to keep your job and advance in your career. So what can you do to make sure you exhibit professionalism and what can you do to ensure that you don't show a lack of it? Follow these dos and don'ts:

Make Being on Time a Priority:  Time management is another topic of professionalism in the workplace. Employees display their professionalism by arriving to work on time. Showing up late for work or meetings gives the impression that you don't care about your job so make sure you pay attention to the clock. Employees who must miss work should immediately call their direct supervisor to explain their reason for missing work. Not only does this go for start times, but this tip also applies to returning from your lunch break. According to information presented on the website of the University of California, Davis, employees can improve time management by prioritizing their tasks, making schedules, creating milestones, and breaking large tasks down into smaller portions.

Don't Be a Grump:  Leave your bad mood at the door when you come to work. We all have days when we aren't feeling our best. Remember not to take it out on your boss, your co-workers and especially your customers. If work is what's causing you to be grumpy, it may be time to think about quitting your job. If that isn't a good option for you,make the best of the situation until it is.

Respect in the Workplace: Topics of professionalism include respect in the workplace. Employees should display personal responsibility, turning off mobile devices, and refraining from using the company’s time for personal issues. Employees should respect each other by limiting unnecessary noise and not meddling in other people's issues. Respecting the company’s confidentiality policies is an important issue regarding professionalism in the workplace. Employees should not discuss sensitive client information with unauthorized individuals, and should not possess a conflict of interest regarding the organization.

Dress Appropriately:  Another aspect of professionalism in the workplace relates to employees’ attire. Corporate organizations typically establish business or business casual dress codes. For many jobs, workplace attire doesn't include wearing a suit and tie. Whether or not you have to dress up for work or you can wear more casual clothes, your appearance should always be neat and clean. Employees should not carry offensive body odor or wear offensive fragrances. A wrinkled suit looks no better than a ripped pair of jeans. Wear the type of clothing your employer requires or that is the norm for your place of employment. Generally speaking, revealing clothing is a no-no. Flip flops, baseball caps, shorts and tank tops should be saved for the weekends. Employees who repeatedly disregard company...
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