How to Develop a Professional Attitude (With Specific Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Building a career requires a professional attitude that's compatible with the work environment. The process of adopting an appropriate attitude and behavioural patterns for your position can help you with everything from networking to efficient performance. Understanding how to develop a professional attitude can help you find a suitable work environment and maintain a strong network as you advance your career. In this article, we provide a step-by-step outline of how you can create a professional demeanour and offer tips on embracing propriety in the workplace.

How to develop a professional attitude

The following steps outline how to develop a professional attitude that can help you interact with colleagues and supervisors in an appropriate manner:

1. Define a professional attitude

A professional attitude refers to the proper way to interact with colleagues, supervisors, or subordinates in a workplace environment. The first step to developing a professional attitude is to set a goal by specifying the attitude you require. For example, in some businesses, there's a significant value on authenticity and an emphasis on casualness. Even in scenarios where the workplace is casual, a professional attitude remains essential.

Professionalism refers to acting in the capacity of your position. Every workplace has a culture that establishes a system of behaviour amongst its employees. First, identify what a professional attitude means for the position you seek and identify ways you can emulate those values.

Read more: How to Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work and Home

2. Assess your surroundings

Even with significant preparation, once you begin work, the environment becomes dynamic. The day-to-day interactions between colleagues, management, and other members of the company may vary for every workplace. Personality mirroring is a popular way to adopt a proper attitude in any situation. This involves observing those who are at your professional level, whether that's in an entry, mid, or senior role. Emulating the expressions and verbal and body language of colleagues and management can help you adapt to a workplace.

Read more: What Is Work Culture? Definition, Elements, and Examples

3. Behave according to your goals

If you plan to level up your career, it's important to comport yourself according to the expectations of the position you seek. Whether you work remotely or in the office, colleagues and supervisors use the available input to develop an opinion of you as a professional. By dressing appropriately, per both the standard practices and company guidelines, you can establish yourself as a professional. From your wardrobe to your posture, attitude encompasses everything that impacts the professional image you show the business world.

4. Control your speech patterns

The way you speak, from the tone and pitch of your voice, to the speed you use to talk, reveals a significant amount about you as a person. There are specific lines of study, such as neuro-linguistic processing, which delve into detail on the importance of speaking professionally in the workplace. There are multiple aspects to using proper phraseology in a professional setting, including:

  • The use of industry-specific terminology, acronyms, jargon, and colloquialisms to highlight your understanding of the field casually.

  • Managing the way you speak according to those in your environment, such as speaking technically to the IT professional and deferentially towards a manager.

  • When you start a new position, aim to listen instead of speak so that you can use your experiences to inform your attitude.

  • Balance the attitude you use to accommodate colleagues, subordinates, and executives by avoiding profanity of any type, speaking well of others, and exercising active listening rather than speaking.

  • Make your voice apparent when you have something valuable to contribute by using situationally appropriate language techniques, such as making a suggestion for a software change or a new scheduling approach, you can seize an opportunity to use the attitude you cultivate to make a difference.

Read more: A Guide to Natural Processing Language (With Tasks and Uses)

5. Incorporate humility

A professional attitude requires you to respect yourself and your competencies. The proper attitude also recognizes their level of experience, knowledge, and education. Understanding that there are opportunities to learn, and that supervisors and management have value to offer, shows true professionalism. The goal of a professional atmosphere is to perform the work, from law to accounting to finance to retail, in an ideal way. Knowing that you have skills yet to learn can help you identify new opportunities and locate role models in the field.

6. Learn from others

Everyone in the workplace offers a set of skills and carries an attitude that contributes to the overall office culture. The unique value that every employee possesses, whether it's your manager or new hire, has experience and knowledge to offer. A professional attitude acknowledges these competencies while also maintaining appropriate boundaries. A desire to learn from others shows that you value true respect and professionalism.

Read more: Professionalism in the Workplace

7. Be available to teach

A profession refers to an occupation that requires training, formal credentials, and experience. The dedication to obtaining those accolades is a component of professionalism, but a significant way to show yourself as a leader, while still helping others, is to teach. After you work in a role for a significant amount of time, you gain valuable experience you can provide to new hires and trainees. In many situations, this involves training your team to find a replacement when you obtain a promotion. Teaching is a critical part of career development.

8. Routinely assess your progress

Identify a set of parameters, including your performance reviews, relationships with your colleagues, and those with your supervisors. Take notes and determine the areas where you succeeded. Use this opportunity to assess the areas where you can improve. Professionalism involves the commitment to learn and evolve with continuing dedication. By performing a regular assessment of your progress and setting goals, you not only remind yourself of the importance of professional behaviour but also set aside the time to self-reflect. Understanding how you can improve professionally with an honest self-assessment is essential to developing a professional attitude.

Read more: 5 Personal Development Tips to Progress Your Career

Tips on creating a professional demeanour

The following tips offer focal points that you can reference while curating a professional attitude:

Respect

When you perform an assessment of your current, ongoing, and future professional self, having categories is important. An essential aspect of professionalism is respect. This item includes respect for the company and everyone who contributes to its functionality. Respect is acknowledging the value of every business participant. To consider respect, aim to identify the value of others. Everyone has skills and identifying yours, and the abilities of others can provide a humbling balance of perspectives that precedes a genuine professional attitude.

Read more: 12 Tips for How to Show Respect in the Workplace

Honesty

Professionals, regardless of the industry or sector, focus on efficiency. Business runs best when everyone involved in its operations is working optimally. While a professional attitude incorporates positivity and encouragement, it's important to preserve honesty. Provided you consider the possibilities, if you have a suggestion for improvement, make it clear. Another example of honesty involves an employee asking you for feedback. It can appear professional to only highlight successes, but true leadership requires teaching and a balance between criticism and positivity.

Read more: What Is Honesty and Integrity in a Workplace Setting?

Ethic

Work ethic is the way you perform without observation. It's your dedication to the position and the responsibilities it entails. A strong work ethic involves an honest representation of your abilities, a desire to improve, and a dedicated follow-through. Professional attitudes rely on work ethic to ensure that you complete tasks properly and on time. Ethics as a professional is a representation of how you value the work itself. A strong work ethic is foundational to a professional attitude.

Read more: What Are Business Ethics? Definition, Overview, and Examples

Clarity

Professionals can communicate clearly and efficiently. Understanding the best way to communicate, whether that's over instant messaging, through e-mail, or with an in-person visit, is important to developing a professional reputation. Once you determine the ideal way to communicate your message, find the clearest and quickest way to relay the information. If the message requires action, be specific as to your expectations. If it's simply informational, indicate that on the communication. Clarity engenders understanding and can facilitate positive communication regardless of your audience.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Accountability

Professionals have responsibilities and expectations, whether in the form of deliverables or project completion. To be genuinely professional involves accountability. Even if a subcontractor made an error, as the supervising professional, it's your responsibility. By taking responsibility for any errors, you retain the ability to take accountability for the positives you contribute. A professional attitude holds you accountable for your actions, and for those under your purview.

Dedication

Especially when you enter a new position, showing dedication to the role is important. While it can seem enticing to work harder and more than colleagues, professional attitudes focus on doing your job properly, within the parameters of your role. This means that it's important to stay dedicated to your job, perform your duties to the best of your abilities, and also create healthy, professional boundaries between your work and personal lives.

Explore more articles