You see yourself as a professional and you put forth a lot of effort to make sure that others see you that way as well. In a world where perception is everything, it’s easy to lose your professional side even occasionally, especially when you get more comfortable with your colleagues.
While most businesses have office policies in place that should ensure (or at least guide) the professionalism of its employees, small and isolated offenses might not seem like anything to the casual observer, but to another they can add up to create deep resentment between co-workers, an article on forbes.com states.
“It’s like a marriage. It’s the little things that get under your skin and mount up after a while,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of EtiquetteExpert.com and author of Business Class.
There are a lot of thorny situations that require you to maintain your professionalism.
How do you politely say no to a favor request, or meeting invite when it’s the norm to say yes or accept the invite? How do you react to unwelcome chatter across cubicle walls? What’s your reaction when someone else receives credit for your idea or hard work? These issues and more are crossed by every professional at some point in their career, and often times repeatedly.
Emily Post, everyone’s favorite go-to etiquette extraordinaire offers advice on everything from everyday manners to on-the-job issues with clients, customers, vendors or contractors.
“Successful employment requires that you perform as expected, practice common courtesies, and solve problems as they arise. The office environment functions best when employees are respectful and considerate of each other and the workplace. This ranges from not eating someone’s lunch out of the fridge, to avoiding office gossip, to communicating respectfully to co-workers.”
Hopefully after the first few rounds of uncomfortable or inappropriate etiquette slights, you’ll learn how to handle your reactions in a more appropriate manner, as it’s imperative to keep in mind that you can’t control others’ behaviors, but you can control yours. Remember, perception is everything.
So while you’re reevaluating and readjusting your own professionalism, flip through Forbes’ picture edition of “How to annoy your co-workers without really trying” as a starting place.