This saying is never more applicable than it is in the corporate world.
Businesses and industries are the final frontier for a level of professional decorum and conduct that we just can’t afford to lose, and while the world is changing, we still need to uphold a code of conduct.
Here are the 6 unspoken but applicable guidelines that we all should remember when working with each other.
Do you do any of these?
These 6 principles should just come naturally to a civilised and professional personal, and upholding them makes you (and your organisation) a decent and ethically running business. That’s what we should all be aspiring to, right?
Sure, that all sounds very warm and fuzzy, but come on – there needs to be a level we keep above.
Is that not enough incentive?
Think about this, then:
Whether they are a customer, colleague or staff member, their lone voice can spread very far and wide if you treat them poorly and this can have serious consequences for you. Businesses can’t afford a bad reputation, as it can be a PR nightmare.
It’s time to discuss the 6 rules of professionalism.
(1) Common Courtesy
Fine, you don’t have to like everyone nor do you need to agree, but there has to be a level of common decency upheld when discussing and interacting in a business setting.
That means manners, eye-contact and respect. Don’t troll in the comments section or insult people behind their back. It’s inappropriate.
Instead, thank someone for a great job, disagree with a logical argument, allow people their turn to speak, and so on.
(2) Put down your phone!
When you’re talking to someone directly, don’t have one (or two) eyes on your phone. Don’t take a call while you’re in conversations with someone, or be keeping an eye on your screen. Don’t tune out to check Instagram when you’re listing to a speaker.
This is poor form.
I get it! Our phones are fascinating and SOMETIMES there can be urgent circumstances, but let’s face it, most of the time, things can wait. If you’re in a meeting with someone, it’s so rude to be checking your phone at the same time.
Give the person the respect and attention they deserve by engaging with them and paying attention.
(3) Pay your invoices on time
If you commission work and it’s delivered, then you pay when you’re invoice is due. Your suppliers should NOT have to continually chase you. This is NOT acceptable, is very disrespectful and shows the standard of your business’ practises.
Just like you don’t go to the shops on the weekend and buy something and then tell them you aren’t paying until you’re ready, the same applies for business.
If the work is complete and payment is due, do the right thing and don’t push the boundaries.
(4) Responding to people
Sure, there may be a grey area here and we are all time poor, but let’s face it – we all know when this applies and when it doesn’t. We all know when we should respond, and ignoring people is very unprofessional.
For example, I got asked to issue a quote and when I did, I heard nothing back. I followed up several times, and they had just disappeared. All that was required was a ‘I’m sorry, we are no longer interested’ or SOMETHING. But cold silence leaves people in the lurch and unsure. Don’t do this.
It’s better to be honest than non-responsive.
(5) Turn up (on time!)
This means delivering on your promises. You’re not too important or too busy- if you said yes, then you’re obligated to be there, and if you can’t make it for whatever reason, give the person notice and suggest another time.
It’s disrespectful to no-show or waltz in late as it puts everyone else out.
Be considerate to others and turn up on time, prepared and ready to go.
(6) Keeping your emotions under control
However, in a professional setting, it’s important to keep those emotions under control. You’re only going to make it worse if you let your temper, disappointment or anxiety flare up. So if you feel a rush of it incoming, take a break and a few solid breaths first.
The person who keeps in control is ALWAYS the one that leaves better off. Nothing makes you look worse than having a tirade in the middle of the office.
Besides, flying off the handle is unprofessional and you’ll get a bad reputation for this.
Why? What’s the purpose of abiding by these professional guidelines?
But if that doesn’t interest you, then it’s good for your business. By acting responsibly and following the above guidelines, you instil good habits into your staff, which they will use with customers. This makes everyone happy, and when people are happy, sales get made.
Upholding professional standards is all of our duty, so let’s ensure that the business place is where we are all treating each other with courtesy and respect. In the end, we all benefit.
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