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Displaying a Professional Attitude

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Your attitude at work can determine the quality of your professional relationships, affect your productivity level and determine your overall success, including having an impact on factors such as potential pay raises and promotions. A 2007 article in the Graziadio Business Review states that attitude is one of the most defining factors in the workplace, therefore, it is important to always display a professional attitude.

Maintain A Professional Attitude

At some point, everyone has encountered coworkers who display poor or unprofessional attitudes. They complain about assignments, gossip about coworkers, talk negatively about the boss and disrespect the work schedule. Even if you dislike your job, displaying a professional attitude is important because it shows your employer, colleagues and clients that you take your job seriously. Maintaining a positive, professional attitude creates a more productive work environment, helps you maintain a healthier perspective and contributes to increased job satisfaction, according to an article published in Human Resource Management.

Internal and External Components

Your attitude consists of both internal and external components. The internal component mainly involves the way you view the world, while the external component involves the way you display this view to others. In the workplace, a professional attitude consists of several main components, according to the University of Northern Iowa Business Professional Readiness Program. A professional attitude means that you have the ability to:

  • effectively manage your time
  • display leadership
  • act in an ethical manner
  • show tenacity and determination
  • act and think creatively
  • appreciate diversity
  • focus on customer satisfaction
  • manage conflicts effectively 
  • display emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence means you don't let your emotions control you – you learn to control them. This can help you tackle stressful or heated situations with poise and calmness.

Do's and Don'ts

Displaying a positive professional attitude requires you to think about and decide how you want to be perceived by others. In order to accomplish this, leave your external concerns and issues at the door when you arrive at work, dress appropriately, be punctual, act cordially to your coworkers and respectful to your supervisors. When conflicts with coworkers or customers arise, stay calm and try to help solve problems with an understanding, nonjudgmental attitude. Avoid prejudice or judgment when working with people from different backgrounds or belief systems.

Consult A Professional

There will be moments when employees dealing with stress or depression from work or external sources let it affect their performance at work. If this happens, address these underlying concerns as soon as possible in order to prevent your work performance and productivity from declining. Consult a qualified mental health provider or an employee assistance program counselor to help you get back on track and regain a more positive, professional attitude.


Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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