July 21


Pay Attention to Your Professional Image (Only If You Want to be Treated with More Respect and Given More Responsibility)

Felix – a new assistant department manager for a small firm – couldn’t figure out why the people beneath him never showed him respect. He considered himself to be relatively outspoken, he dressed the part, and he had 10 years of experience in the industry. Yet, whenever he gave instructions, he was met with lip service. His team wasn’t productive, and they would frequently go around him to discuss issues with his superior, the department manager Samantha.

One day, Samantha brought Felix into his office. She told him that he had the potential to become great in his position, but there are few things he needed to work on in order to inspire confidence in his team. Felix, who up until this point lacked self-awareness of how he was truly perceived, listened with mouth agape as Samantha listed off areas in which Felix could improve. Among many things, Felix needed to make himself more available to his team as they worked toward a goal. His habit of issuing orders and then becoming scarce left them high and dry whenever a problem arose.

Like Felix, many individuals lack the self-awareness to know when they’re presenting themselves as unprofessional. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to adjust that image, and gain respect from your team and superiors. Here’s ten to begin:

  1. Act with Authority – let your words and actions exude confidence, leave no room for doubt.
  2. Communicate Wisely – speak candidly and openly, with attention to authenticity. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it that makes an impact.
  3. Know Thyself – self-awareness can help you recognize your strengths, understand where you need improvement, and properly use this information to your benefit. Seek out feedback from superiors regularly to help gauge your progress.
  4. Think Ahead – anticipate where problems may arise and act before they become genuine problems, set reasonable goals and strive to achieve them, and always be thinking about what’s next. Essentially, start with the end in mind.
  5. Be Realistic – proper goal setting requires self-awareness and authenticity. Strive to achieve the things which are actually achievable, and make small adjustments as needed.
  6. Keep Promises – don’t say things you don’t mean, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t promise your team the moon if you know you don’t have the proper tools to get there. Recognize the importance of follow-through.
  7. Show Excitement – enthusiasm is catching. If you believe in something, and act passionately, others will too.
  8. Keep Learning – a healthy sense of curiosity never hurt anyone.
  9. Leave Your Comfort Zone – take calculated risks that challenge you and help you grow.
  10. Cultivate Your Image – your health, your level of fitness, and how you dress make an impression on those around you. It’s not the most significant aspect, but it’s definitely an important one.

Read more at Inc.com

What are some things you’ve seen in the workplace that strike you as unprofessional? What did you learn from them? What are some habits you embrace to garner the respect of your colleagues and superiors?


Bill Murphy Jr., Business Development, Inc., leadership, Perception, Power of Perception, professional, success, Team Development, Unprofessional

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