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The Cost of Incivility and How to Find Professional Presence Again

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employee Development Systems, professional presenceMany of you who are reading this may be working from home, or you may have a flexible work week, which could include an afternoon off during the week and sometimes find that you take on work during the weekend. With social media now fully integrated into most of our lives, our personal and work lives have merged to such a degree that it’s not uncommon to bring your personal problems to work and share them with the world. What is the cost of our increasingly casual lives? 

US companies everywhere are losing market share, and are unable to find competent, polished talent, even in an economy with a fairly high unemployment rate. Where are all the good employees? The rise of the casual work-life merger offers us a mixed bag. Some of it enriches our lives, and some if it has led to a country of employees who can’t meet deadlines, don’t match their words with actions, and lose clients daily because of “whatever.”

A ten-year study of incivility (conducted by researchers Christine Porath and Christine Pearson), showed that anti-social behavior at work is more toxic than you might think. 

Berating bosses; employees who take credit for others’ work, assign blame, or spread rumors; and coworkers who exclude teammates from networks are all part of what are considered “anti-social” behavior. 

The researchers* polled several thousand managers and employees from a diverse range of U.S. companies about their responses to rudeness at work and learned that among those on the receiving end,

  • 48% decreased their work effort,
  • 47% decreased their time at work,
  • 38% decreased their work quality,
  • 66% said their performance declined,
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident,
  • 63% lost time avoiding the offender, and
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined.

With these kinds of startling responses, the cost of toxic colleagues can’t be overstated.  

Formalized training in professional behavior cuts this cost and improves productivity. Professional behavior benefits you and your employees and benefit your career and position within an organization by:

  • Differentiating you as a potential leader.
  • Helping you develop the confidence necessary to achieve results.
  • Building an image that is respected and models corporate values.
  • Being viewed as a positive influence with co-workers.
  • Cementing strong business partnerships.
  • Adding value to your personal life through accomplishments.
  • Being identified as a person who listens, communicates and clarifies.
  • Focusing on excellence in the work you do. 

What does professionalism in today’s workplace look like? 

Professionalism encompasses the day-to-day behaviors that define who you are and what you do. Your behaviors, skill sets and competencies all determine whether your individual contributions positively or negatively impact the goals, mission and vision of the organization you represent. 

Sign Posts of High Professional Presence

  1. Confidence in their abilities to perform the functions they were hired to do.
  2. An ability to solve problems and focus and solutions.
  3. They make decisions that are sound and responsible and impact the good of the organization as opposed to self-serving.
  4. Confronting or eliminating fears from their thinking. FOcusing on positive outcomes instead of negative results is their operational method.
  5. Taking risks. Professionals take calculated, measurable risks in order to challenge themselves, create movement and change the organizational culture.
  6. They take care of themselves through effective self-management. They exercise, they eat the right foods, they nurture themselves and create an environment that is positive and motivating instead of one that is filled with stress. 

The cost of anti-social, unprofessional behavior in the workplace is severe. Making sure your organization is intentional about its expectations related to professionalism will take  everyone to the next level, increase employee engagement, retain employees, and most of all, improve productivity. 

You will find that intentionally increasing your own professional presence will pay off in your career and personal life, because the integrity-based behaviors of an increased professional presence will undoubtedly spill over into your personal life.

 


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