How to conduct yourself at work
After being unemployed for quite some time, you have finally got the job. Congratulations! However, that’s just the beginning…
Now you need to focus on behaving professionally. Just being in the job isn’t enough. You need to behave in a way that your boss and your team members see you as valuable to the team. If you manage to do this, you will have a professional advantage at work. People will see that you are taking your job seriously and want to be successful.
Here are some tips on how to conduct yourself in your new workplace:
Bring the best version of ‘you’ to work
When you are at work – whether it is working from home or in an office – always do the things you have promised to do. And do these things with a pleasant and willing attitude even if you’ve had a bad night or feel unhappy about something in your personal life.
Look after your health by exercising and eating well. You don’t want to take time off for ill health unless it is absolutely necessary. You’ll also need to perform at your best every day that you’re at work.
Learn how to do your job properly
At first, you will have to learn what your role entails. This means that you will need to listen, ask questions and, once your initial training is over, aim to be self-sufficient. However, there will always be things you’re unsure of so do ask questions when you need to. Once you know what needs to be done, do everything to the best of your ability.
Once you are competent in your role, learn new skills so that you become a highly regarded member of the team. Always be willing to help others and share information to show that your focus is on the organisation itself and not only on yourself. Focus on what’s best for the organisation rather than thinking about what you can do to stand out – this is actually the best way to impress your employer! Which links to the next point…
Customer’s needs should come first
All organisations have customers. Who the customer is depends on the work being done. A customer could be an individual person or another organisation. It’s important to remember that the work you do ultimately impacts a customer. They are the reason why you are employed in the first place and so it’s important to keep them happy with your product/service. This means that their needs should come first.
You need be considered trustworthy and dependable at work. This means that you should always arrive on time, if not a few minutes early, to prepare, especially if you are new to the job. Always do your work on time and as best as you can. Ask for help if you need it. If you find, for some reason, that you are not going to make a deadline, speak to your boss BEFORE the deadline to arrange an extension.
Have a great attitude towards others
Your attitude is one of the most important aspects of working with others. Be respectful of other people and be positive. Always show that you are willing to do the work given to you. If you think, though, that you might struggle with something, be honest about it. Remember that you need to be reliable as others are depending on you.
Listen actively to others and demonstrate understanding
When a task is being explained to you, show that you really are listening. You can do this by looking at the speaker and by nodding to show that you understand. Writing notes is also a really valuable way of showing that you are paying attention and are determined to do something in the right way. Always take notes at a meeting or when the instructions are lengthy or complex. Ask questions when you need to and repeat back the task to show that you understand what you need to do.
Own up to your mistakes
We all make mistakes. This is normal, especially when you are new to a job. When you make a mistake, always let your boss know – they will appreciate your honesty – and you will learn from them. Never hide a mistake and hope it will go away! This will be seen as dishonest behaviour and the repercussions may well be serious – much worse than owning up to the problem.
Go the extra mile
Rather than waiting for everything to be given to you, anticipate what might be needed next and start working on this. This might take time to do as you’ll need some experience and well developed skills to be able to be proactive but it is definitely something you should aim for in the long term.
Don’t rush to do this as a newbie, though. You will need to learn your new job properly first.
Be a trusted member of the team
Being part of a team means that you need to work responsibly so that other members of the team don’t need to pick up any of your undone work. Be co-operative and honest and create a safe place where everyone can work at their best.
Your boss will love you being a ‘team player’ – someone who gets on with others and works well. Don’t bring home problems into the office and always speak positively about your team members.
Be organised – it is the key to success
Being organised helps things to run smoothly. Keep a diary – it can be paper or digital – so that you know what is happening when. Also keep notes and lists so that you are always ‘in the know’ about what needs to happen.
Keep your communication clear and concise
Because time is money at work, when you are discussing things with others, try and keep it brief and focussed. Again, always take notes during meetings and treat your colleagues politely.
Solve disagreements as quickly as possible
It is quite normal to dislike some people that you work with so don’t worry about it. If you find that a work colleague is being particularly difficult to you, speak to someone such as your boss who might be able to help you solve it before it becomes a big problem.
If you find that you are angry or upset at the way someone has spoken to you, try and keep yourself together in the moment. Control your emotions until you have had a chance to think about what has happened. Once you have done this, you can consider what action you need to take that would work in a professional environment. Remember that any type of bullying, discrimination or harassment is illegal and needs to be taken very seriously. If this is happening to you speak immediately to your boss or HR representative.
Never be Unprofessional
You may never be told exactly what your organisation sees as professional behaviour. But you will be considered unprofessional if you don’t finish your work on time, arrive late at work, aren’t prepared for the work you need to do or don’t attend meetings.
How else can you be unprofessional? By being unreliable. You need to complete your work on time, and credit your colleagues for the work that they do. Always do whatever you’ve promised to do.
The Professional Advantage
If you follow the tips above, you will find that you are viewed in a positive light at work. You may well be given extra responsibilities which could lead to promotions and increased wages. You might be given more of the work that you excel at and really enjoy and less of the work that you find humdrum. On top of this your self-esteem will rocket and you may well find that other areas of your life improve as well!
Follow these links to find out more about creating a professional image:
Create a professional image attitude and behaviour