Professionalism is the key to success of any great organization. That success isn’t garnered from one or two professional employees. Professionalism is upholding the standards by which the organization expects of itself; and then going above and beyond that bar. It is expected of everyone. It isn’t a one or two person event. It requires teamwork, good morale, exceptional conduct and an unbridled esprit de corps. The organization’s leader sets the standard by which its employees are expected to handle interactions, and how others perceive the organization.
Professionalism encompasses more than just dressing well for the job. It is also how that representative or employee represents the organization internally, as well as to the outside world.
What happens when you have to deal with unprofessional behavior in the workplace? For one, employee bickering and soap opera-style drama lowers the general morale of the employees in the organization. Another result of unprofessional behavior is the snowball effect by which external organizations and persons perceive the organization. Reputation takes forever to earn and a split second to lose. Using a viral analogy, a bad reputation is like a virus, spreading from every limb of the organization to the next; infecting it with bad attitudes, bad mouthing and questionable behavior. Quick and decisive action must be taken to ensure the limb is inoculated or severed.
How can you bring behavior that seems less than professional back to the standard by what is expected? Well, the leader has to set the standard by what is expected, but he or she has to constantly reset or remind the organization of those standards and set the bar high. Those failing to live up to that bar professionally can be expected to retrained and reminded what that bar is and what is expected of them. Not doing so can result in removal from their positions, transfers to positions with less authority and termination of the said employee. In cases of termination, leaders should use these actions as examples of what is and what is not expected as a member of the organization.
Remember, no organization is perfect and no action that can be taken is a panacea for unprofessional behavior. Professionalism is a continuing journey that all must walk as a team in order to make the organization a success.