Legal Ways to Address Attitude in the Workplace

Legal Ways to Address Attitude in the Workplace

by Stephanie Fagnani

Peer conflicts at work can be addressed through mediation.
 

Just one negative employee can deflate the morale of an entire department or workplace and, therefore, problems relating to poor attitude at work should be addressed immediately. Conversely, displaying a positive attitude at work can help reduce stress, improve customer relations and enhance the productivity of work teams. Businesses need to make clear what type of behavior will not be tolerated and must take appropriate legal action when policy is ignored.

Put It In Writing

The first step to addressing attitude in the workplace is to clearly define, in writing, what type of behavior will and will not be tolerated. US Legal recommends detailing a policy concerning attitude in a corporate handbook that is distributed to all new employees as soon as they join the company and also placing signs that address negativity in the workplace in public areas, such as a lunchroom and bathroom.

Schedule a Mediation

Scheduling a mediation between two employees who have expressed negative attitudes toward one another can be a crucial step toward changing their behavior. Having a third person present to offer an objective opinion regarding the situation that sparked conflict can often help settle the dispute and effect a positive change in attitude going forward. It’s important to document every meeting that pertains to workplace attitude and add it to an employee’s file.

Performance Review

Regular performance reviews are one of the best tools a supervisor can use to address an employee with an attitude problem and to let him know how his attitude is affecting the entire workplace, according to Nancy Aldrich, superintendent of human resources with the Arlington Heights Park District. During this review session, employers can also set limits on the employee’s behavior and indicate the consequences that will occur if there is no change in attitude during a given time period.

Suspension/Termination

Terminating an employee due to negative attitude should be a last report and one taken only after meetings, mediation and possibly even temporary suspension. It is important to have written documentation of every attempt to rectify the employee’s attitude through legal means such as mediation and private meetings with superiors, and it will also prove helpful when linking the bad attitude with poor productivity.

5 Steps to Get Along in the Workplace

5 Steps to Get Along in the Workplace

by Luke Arthur

Showing up late hurts the whole team.
 

When you start a new job, you may find it difficult to get to know your coworkers. While it may be difficult at first, it is in your best interest to get along with the other employees at the office. If you can get along with others and work well in a team environment, it can improve your chances of keeping your job over the long-term.

Listen to Others

If you want to get along with others in the workplace, one of the most important things that you will need to do is listen when they talk. Many arguments and conflicts have been started by individuals who are unwilling to listen to the other person. When someone approaches you about a problem or issue, do not be quick to interrupt. Stop and listen to what that person is saying first before responding.

Ask Questions

Do not be afraid to ask questions in the workplace. If you are unclear about your responsibilities or assignments, ask your supervisor exactly what you are supposed to do. By clarifying your responsibilities, you can avoid confusion and problems in the future. If you make mistakes in your job, it will inevitably affect someone else in the workplace. Making sure that you do your job correctly should be one of your top priorities.

Avoid Gossip

One of the problems that many people have in the office is gossiping about other coworkers. If you are regularly engaged in this practice, stop immediately. When you talk about other people behind their backs, it can lead to negative emotions between employees and eventually fighting. Make it a priority to avoid talking negatively about other people, especially when they are not present.

Be a Team Player

You should always strive to be a team player in your workplace. Always be willing to chip in and do your part to help the team be successful. When someone does not do their share, it negatively affects other people and other employees start to resent that individual. If you are always willing to do your share and even more than your share, you will usually get along well with others.

Take Interest in Others

Make an effort to take an interest in other people. According to FabJob.com, learning about others’ home life and families, even their challenges, builds mutual confidence among coworkers. “Gaining the confidence of fellow workers is made much easier when you demonstrate that you have a caring attitude,” FabJob.com reports. Be interested in what other people are doing and how their personal life is going. Stay in touch with your coworkers and try to develop personal relationships with everyone you can, but avoid being invasive.

Examples of Professionalism

Examples of Professionalism

by George N. Root III

A professional approach is an effective business strategy.
 

Professional conduct can enhance your standing among colleagues and customers. Managers and executives talk of acting like a professional, and examples of professionalism will help to demonstrate the point more clearly. Adjust your attitude towards your work and you will find that those around you will respond positively.

Following Policy

A professional takes the time to understand company policies and abides by those guidelines. For example, if the company dress code requires tattoos and body piercings to be covered in the workplace, the professional employee understands that the company wishes to portray a particular image to the public. It is not a statement against tattoos, it is a policy designed to prevent employees from alienating customers and vendors who would prefer to not see tattoos.

Being Responsible

Managers and executives associate professionalism with reliability and responsibility. A professional employee meets deadlines, submits excellent work and is available for corrections. Displaying responsibility and reliability makes a positive impression with company managers and executives, which can lead to pay raises and promotions.

Cooperating

A professional attends to his own responsibilities and offers assistance to colleagues when possible. Being a catalyst for effective teamwork is part of taking a professional approach. Your teammates come to rely on you because of your skills and reliability. Being there to assist your co-workers while maintaining your own workload is the sign of a professional.

Addressing Conflict

Conflict in the workplace can happen at a company for any number of reasons. The professional approach to a conflict is to alert management to the issue and allow the company to follow its policy to properly address the situation. A professional does not escalate the situation by taking sides or by trying to resolve the conflict without using proper company procedures.

The Importance of Professionalism in Business

The Importance of Professionalism in Business

by Sherrie Scott

Professional work place behavior is important for individual success.
 

Professional workplace behavior is necessary for the long-term success of a business, whether it’s a big corporation or small business. Employee interactions and relationships with customers are of vital importance to ensure that company goals and objectives are met. A professional work place attitude and appearance allow employees to take pride in their work and improve worker performance. Managers who behave professionally set an appropriate example by encouraging their people to conduct themselves in a manner that supports company-wide success.

Establish Boundaries

Professionalism in the work place establishes boundaries between what is considered appropriate office behavior and what is not. While most managers support an enjoyable and vibrant work environment, limits must be put in place to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings. Workers who conduct themselves professionally steer clear of crossing the line with their conversations and other interactions with co-workers, superiors and clients.

Encourage Improvement

A business environment in which employees dress and operate professionally is more conducive for success. According to “Dress for Success,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping businesswomen obtain professional work attire, professional dress codes support career development and personal growth in the work place. Workers who dress and act professionally feel better about themselves and are encouraged to perform better for their clients.

Maintain Accountability

Companies that interact directly with clients are obligated to provide the best services possible and present their company in the best possible light. Professionalism counts when providing written information to clients. Professionally written company reports, business plans or other correspondence help businesses remain accountable with their level of service. According to the Small Business Administration, “the impression given in the paperwork submitted is important.”

Promote Respect

Professionalism in business establishes respect for authority figures, clients and co-workers. Maintaining a professional demeanor limits gossip and inappropriate personal conversations that could be considered disrespectful. Keeping a professional attitude with clients who behave inappropriately demonstrates the level of respect an employee has for the customer and the business partnership.

Minimize Conflict

Conflicts are less likely to arise in a professional business environment. Workers who respect each other’s boundaries and conduct themselves professionally rarely have disagreements that cannot be resolved efficiently. Professionalism in business also benefits diverse environments in which business people and their clients have several different perspectives and opinions. Professional behavior helps business people avoid offending members of different cultures or backgrounds.

5 Factors That Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic

5 Factors That Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic

by Amelia Jenkins

A strong work ethic can improve your career.
 

A strong work ethic is vital to a company achieving its goals. Every employee, from the CEO to entry-level workers, must have a good work ethic to keep the company functioning at its peak. A work ethic is a set of moral principals an employee uses in his job. Certain factors come together to create a strong work ethic.

Integrity

Integrity stretches to all aspects of an employee’s job. An employee with integrity fosters trusting relationships with clients, coworkers and supervisors. Coworkers value the employee’s ability to give honest feedback. Clients trust the employee’s advice. Supervisors rely on the employee’s high moral standards, trusting him not to steal from the company or create problems.

Sense of Responsibility

A strong sense of responsibility affects how an employee works and the amount of work she does. When the employee feels personally responsible for her job performance, she shows up on time, puts in her best effort and completes projects to the best of her ability.

Emphasis on Quality

Some employees do only the bare minimum, just enough to keep their job intact. Employees with a strong work ethic care about the quality of their work. They do their best to produce great work, not merely churn out what is needed. The employee’s commitment to quality improves the company’s overall quality.

Discipline

It takes a certain level of commitment to finish your tasks every day. An employee with good discipline stays focused on his goals and is determined to complete his assignments. These employees show a high level of dedication to the company, always ensuring they do their part.

Sense of Teamwork

Most employees have to work together to meet a company’s objectives. An employee with a high sense of teamwork helps a team meet its goals and deliver quality work. These employees respect their peers and help where they can, making collaborations go smoother.

What Are the Characteristics of Professionalism?

What Are the Characteristics of Professionalism?

by K.A. Francis

There is more to exhibiting professionalism than wearing a suit to work.
 

Professionalism has no simple definition. What one company considers unprofessional is completely acceptable to another. However, professionalism is considered an important trait that all employees should possess. York College of Pennsylvania conducted a survey with 520 human resource personnel and business leaders. Sixty percent stated they base hiring decisions on perceived professional traits of the candidates. The traits may vary from one profession or company to another, but there are several that carry over.

Honesty

No one wants to work with an untrustworthy person. Lying about a situation, no matter how small, will turn what could have been a small problem with an easy solution into a large problem with lasting ramifications.

Respect and Courtesy

Sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest difference. Letting a person finish speaking without interruption, saying please and thank you and taking criticism and advice without an outward show of disdain are examples of being courteous and showing respect. An employee does not have to like or agree with what a supervisor said, but a courteous and respectful employee will listen before offering comments or rebuttals.

Work Ethic

Professionalism means sticking with something until the job is completed. People with a strong work ethic are considered to be professional when they stay on track and see projects through to their conclusions.

Communication

Whether you are working alone or in a team environment, communication is vital to achieving goals. Working alone, you must keep your supervisor apprised; as part of a team, you must communicate with one another to ensure you are all focused toward the same ends. The ability to communicate effectively is a strong sign of professionalism.

How to Be Less Negative in the Workplace

How to Be Less Negative in the Workplace

by Tricia Goss

Changing your negative outlook will make you more satisfied with your job.
 

Everyone has a bad day at work from time to time. If you find yourself feeling unenthusiastic about your job more often than not, though, it is time to make some changes. The State of Wisconsin Enterprise Management Development Academy reports that negative thoughts lead to negative actions. Productivity diminishes along with job satisfaction and soon your job may be at risk. Learning ways to turn your attitude around can help you enjoy your job and perform at your best once more.

1. Take responsibility for your own happiness at work. When you stop expecting someone else to fix things, you will feel more in control of your life and less disappointed in others. This will help you avoid resentment and regret, as well.

2. Find something to be thankful for every time you complain or feel annoyed. Make a list of five things that you appreciate about your job every day. Perhaps you work in a clean, comfortable environment, have a coworker whose friendship you enjoy or are simply grateful to be employed. Looking for the positive will take your focus off the negative.

3. Change things that upset you about your workplace if it is in your power to do so. Offer to take a leadership role over a project if you feel it is lacking direction, for example, or host a lunchtime gathering if you believe that employees need more team spirit. Set an example as you work that may motivate others to change as well.

4. Try something new. People often feel discontent at work when they are bored or unchallenged. Ask your supervisor to assign a task that is different from your current duties but matches your skills and abilities. Not only will you feel more enthusiastic about going to work, but you may also impress your boss.

5. Avoid others with negative attitudes. If a coworker attempts to share the latest workplace gossip or criticize your manager, tell her you have an appointment and excuse yourself. Surround yourself with others who are upbeat and satisfied with their jobs. Just as a pessimistic outlook is contagious, optimism can be infectious.

10 Characteristics of Professionalism

10 Characteristics of Professionalism

by Chris Joseph

Dressing for success will help establish you as a professional.
 

Being a professional in your chosen field means much more than wearing a coat and tie or possessing a college degree and a noted title. Professionalism also has to do with how you conduct yourself during your business affairs. True professionals possess a number of important characteristics that can apply to virtually any type of business.

Appearance

A professional is neat in appearance. Be sure to meet or even exceed the requirements of your company’s dress code, and pay special attention to your appearance when meeting with prospects or clients.

Demeanor

Your demeanor should exude confidence but not cockiness. Be polite and well-spoken whether you’re interacting with customers, superiors or co-workers. You need to keep your calm, even during tense situations.

Reliability

As a professional, you will be counted on to find a way to get the job done. Responding to people promptly and following through on promises in a timely manner is also important, as this demonstrates reliability.

Competence

Professionals strive to become experts in their field, which sets them apart from the rest of the pack. This can mean continuing your education by taking courses, attending seminars and attaining any related professional designations.

Ethics

Professionals such as doctors, lawyers and public accountants must adhere to a strict code of ethics. Even if your company or industry doesn’t have a written code, you should display ethical behavior at all times.

Maintaining Your Poise

A professional must maintain his poise even when facing a difficult situation. For example, if a colleague or client treats you in a belligerent manner, you should not resort to the same type of behavior.

Phone Etiquette

Your phone etiquette is also an important component of professional behavior. This means identifying yourself by your full name, company and title when you place a call. Be sure not to dominate the conversation and listen intently to the other party.

Written Correspondence

During written correspondence, keep your letters brief and to the point. Your tone should be polite and formal without being “stuffy.” This also applies to email correspondence.

Organizational Skills

A professional can quickly and easily find what is needed. Your work area should be neat and organized, and your briefcase should contain only what is needed for your appointment or presentation.

Accountability

Professionals are accountable for their actions at all times. If you make a mistake, own up to it and try to fix it if possible. Don’t try to place the blame on a colleague. If your company made the mistake, take responsibility and work to resolve the issue.

Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic

Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic

by Osmond Vitez

Honesty and transparency in business practices aids in customer retention.
 

Professionalism and work ethic are two important features in the small-business environment. Business owners often use these elements to ensure that their company operates in the highest professional and ethical manner possible. While businesses may be started under a variety of circumstances, they often contain similar business elements. The style and organizational structure may also depend on the entrepreneur’s personal use of professionalism and his work ethic when handling business situations.

Definition

Professionalism is often defined as the strict adherence to courtesy, honesty and responsibility when dealing with individuals or other companies in the business environment. This trait often includes a high level of excellence going above and beyond basic requirements. Work ethic is usually concerned with the personal values demonstrated by business owners or entrepreneurs and instilled in the company’s employees. The good work ethic may include completing tasks in a timely manner with the highest quality possible and taking pride in completed tasks.

Features

Professionalism and the work ethic demonstrated by individuals in the business environment may be built around an internal moral system or code of ethics. Morality and ethics usually represent the personal beliefs individuals display when working in business. Common traits often include transparency, honesty and integrity. These personal traits often display themselves publicly when individuals respond to various business situations. A professional work ethic may be seen as somebody “walking the walk” regarding their personal morality and ethics.

Function

Small businesses often use professionalism to help them establish a good reputation in the business environment. Because many small businesses have limited capital resources during the early years of operations, an important advertising strategy is word-of-mouth. Small businesses that treat each customer in a professional manner and display a strong work ethic when completing business functions or responsibilities can help develop positive goodwill with consumers.

Effects

Business owners and entrepreneurs may decide to create a written set of guidelines outlining their company’s professionalism and work ethic expectations. These written guidelines can help the business owner translate his company’s mission or vision to employees. These guidelines may also be included in the company’s employee manual so business owners can properly train and educate individuals about the importance of the company’s professionalism and work ethic.

Considerations

Transforming an individual’s understanding of professionalism and work ethic may be a difficult process in small business. Many individuals may not have the same views on professionalism and work ethic as the business owner. Business owners may hire these individuals if they have technical experience or expertise in the business, regardless of the employee’s personal moral or ethical beliefs. But employees often adopt the business’s professionalism and work ethic guidelines when working for a company, especially if they are well compensated.

Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know

Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know

Want to Be a Full-Time Freelancer? What You Need to Know

Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

No matter what their field, many small business owners utilize freelancers. Businesses in practically every industry are looking for writers, marketers, programmers, designers, accountants, lawyers and more — all of whom they intend to hire on a contractual basis.

The freelance economy is not a niche market, either. According to the Freelancers Union, 54 million Americans work as freelancers in fields such as writing, graphic design and consulting. That’s approximately one-quarter of the entire U.S. workforce. The freelance economy has created opportunities for people who want to make a living freelancing in their chosen field, and it’s an especially attractive opportunity for people who work in more competitive fields.

The freedom and flexibility of full-time freelancing are huge draws for people who choose this career path, but these benefits also come with downsides. There are a few challenges that any potential freelancer should be prepared to face. Freelance workforce experts shared their thoughts on what every professional freelancer and independent contractor should know.

When you become a professional freelancer, you’re actually starting your own one-person business. You are responsible for not only building up your own client base, but also covering all of the costs that come with business ownership. These include home office equipment, website design, marketing, accounting and more. Depending on your field of work, the prices could vary.

While you can certainly save money by taking care of certain business tasks yourself, doing so sucks up valuable time that could be better spent working and earning money. You also don’t get paid for vacation days or sick days, so managing your time becomes even more important when you’re freelancing for a living.

Many new freelancers celebrate their first check from a client. Unlike an employer paycheck, freelance payments arrive without any taxes deducted, so it’s easy to spend your hard-earned cash once it arrives.

Once tax season approaches, the 1099 form your client sends to the IRS means you need to cough up your unpaid taxes in full. Employers cover half of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, but when you’re self-employed, the full tax rate is on you, according to the IRS. Throughout the entire year, you’ll have to account for these expenses in your bookkeeping.

Additionally, freelancers must secure their own health insurance. The Freelancers Union offers health insurance through its annual membership fees. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act offers insurance on a sliding scale based on your annual income. Prices vary by state, but expect to pay somewhere around $300 or more per month for individual coverage. This Money article breaks down some of the specifics about healthcare costs, deadlines and coverage considerations for freelancers.

Despite the difficulties of working as a full-time freelancer, it’s no more or less challenging than any other entrepreneurial venture. You need to know how to successfully market yourself and grow your client base. Here are a few tips for how to do so:

Build your online presence. When you apply for a freelance position, the first thing potential clients will do is research your past work. Make sure they find something worthwhile by maintaining a strong online presence.

The most important of all platforms is your own website. Freelance content marketer and blogger Ryan Robinson recommended including examples of your previous work, contact information and testimonials to get started. Depending on your field, it also might be beneficial to be active on social media platforms, such as Instagram’s business option and Facebook pages.

Focus on your best clients. When you’re first starting out as a freelancer, it’s not a bad idea to take on as many jobs as you can to build up your portfolio and potential referral network. But once you’ve established yourself, you can afford to be a little more selective about the clients you take on.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to embrace anchor clients, or those that assign steady, regular work. Contently reports that anchor clients are a crucial part of growing and expanding your income as a freelancer.

Network and maintain relationships. In any business, word-of-mouth referrals are often the best way to generate new leads. When your working relationship with a client ends, keep in touch and reach out from time to time.

If you’re in some form of media freelance trade, it’s important to recognize that your clients can easily switch jobs. For instance, if you’re a freelance writer, editors frequently switch over to new publications. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to work directly with a person, rather than a business, throughout his or her career.

Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor.