The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What are the three most unprofessional things an employee can do on the job?” is by Robert Herjavec, founder of Herjavec Group.
Gone are the days of formality where people dressed for work like they were going to a wedding. Today, we thrive in a culture that comes with flexible work hours, the ability to work remotely, and company socials for co-workers and clients to mingle outside of the office. So it’s no surprise that personal lines get blurred and professionalism can be compromised.
But maintaining a level of professionalism when associating with co-workers is still crucial. Don’t get me wrong, building relationships with colleagues outside of work is beneficial — teams bond through a work hard, play hard mentality. I have a great team at Herjavec Group. We’re aligned on our goals, and celebrate our wins together. Team building events, holiday parties, and after work drinks allow us all to get to know one another in a relaxed atmosphere. But just remember, there is no “after hours” when your boss is around. Be mindful, these people are your colleagues first and friends second, if at all. At the end of the day you want to be respected for your abilities as a professional and not for being the “fun guy”. In the office or at a company social, there are three things that will convey your level of professionalism:
I expect my employees to treat me with respect and vice versa. Each employee plays an important role in fulfilling our company goals, regardless of their experience, age, or gender. Have you ever watched someone treat a waiter or a hostess with disrespect? Doesn’t it make you question how they will treat your customers, coworkers, or you? No matter who you are, or where you are, treat all those around you with respect.
Don’t raise your voice. Not at me, at a client, or a fellow co-worker. I don’t respond well to someone yelling at me — does anyone? Has anything productive ever come out of a good screaming match that couldn’t be settled calmly? Cool off, walk away, go outside or close the door, but whatever you do don’t yell.
The way you dress is the first thing people see. Subconsciously they are already forming an opinion about you and the company you represent based on how you dress. Dress for the occasion — and if you are not sure overdress. If you have to question whether your outfit choice is appropriate it probably isn’t. Your workplace will set the “rules and regulations” if you will, in terms of your attire — and while they may not always appreciate your style, don’t be offended — just save it for the weekend.
People reflect on your actions, your words, and your behavior — make it the impression you want them to remember. Be professional.