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10 Everyday Habits That Make You Look Wildly Unprofessional at Work

Do you remember your mother telling you that you would not be rewarded for your bad behavior? In fact, you would be punished for it? With social media overnight successes, people have forgotten their home training and have used Twitter and FB Live to act out. This new culture of tweet-what-you-feel, post-what-you-think, has unfurled a more relaxed, unedited behavior in the work place also. Before there was only one person who was the rude, late jerk at work; now there's a full conference room. I believe there are still behaviors that just make you look, well, unprofessional. No matter how cool you think you are. Here's are 10 habits that you should not be doing.

We've found this list on The Muse

1. Lazy Profanity

OK, this one really is at the top of the list. Again, it’s not the profanity itself (although that often doesn’t help). It’s the laziness. If someone constantly uses the F-word as an all-purpose adjective, it makes you wonder whether they’re equally uncreative and slothful in everything they do.

2. Lateness

I must admit this is a tendency I’ve had to work hard to combat in my own life. The phrase “Murphy Standard Time” would not be met with blank stares by some of my friends and family. Yet I’ve learned that being on time is a matter of respect. Show up when you say you will, and you send a message that you’re professional enough to care.

3. Leering

We’re all human. We’re mammals. We notice alluring members of whatever gender we’re biologically predisposed to be attracted to. Yet, that same humanity also means we should have the self-control to keep the “up-and-down look” under control, so to speak. Eyes up here, my friend, or you’ll look like a creepy amateur.

4. Pollyannaishness

I’ve always been a bit bothered by the fact that the word “Pollyannaish” suggests the concept of having too much unrealistic optimism. Check out the 1913 book if you don’t understand why. Still, when, after a disaster, a colleague or a vendor insists that things are absolutely fine—while simple common sense tells you they’re not—it undermines his or her professionalism.

5. Flightiness

To be flighty is to be fickle and irresponsible. Tell someone you’ll be at a certain place, or that you’ll accomplish a certain thing—and then never do it? Sorry, you’re flighty.

6. Disorganization

Anyone who gets more than 1,000 emails a day probably falls into this category. As most of us who run businesses understand, clients and customers expect you to reply quickly. They want you to be able to talk about their situations (seemingly) off-the-cuff. If you aren’t in control of your own situation, they’ll wonder how you can possibly be in control of theirs.

7. Inarticulateness

This one is like, so like, obvious—and yet a lot of people like—they don’t really, like, get it. And that just, like, totally makes them seem like—well, not really professional, because they, like, can’t even get to the point of what they want to say and like, make it clear and stuff. UGGHHH!! Just shoot me!

Enough said. I’d actually throw bad grammar into this category as well—although with the caveat that we’ve all known some very smart, professional people whose language simply betrayed their lack of formal education, or whose first tongue wasn’t ours. (Seriously, if this column were written in French or Spanish, we’d all have a good laugh at my grammar.)

8. Secrecy

Sure, we all have private lives, but most of the time our businesses don’t truly involve them. If you’re hiding important information from employees or clients, you’re not doing much for your reputation as a leader, and you’re probably making them wonder whether they can trust you.

9. Over-promising

A really brilliant salesperson once told me her art of selling was about “making the maximum promise you can, consistent with your ability to deliver.” Entrepreneurs often push the envelope on this, but the key is to make sure you’re confident you will eventually be able to make good on your promises.

10. Cheating and Lying

These two are obvious. As President George W. Bush once tried to say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

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