7 Common Unprofessional Habits in the Workplace

Everyone knows first impressions and a good reputation are vital in order to succeed at work. Whether you are a seasoned employee or a fresh graduate, one must always be on their guard to ensure professional behavior is constantly displayed. However, we are only human and we do slip up from time to time. Here are 7 habits that would make you look unprofessional to either your co-workers, to your customers and to your boss.

1) Not Responding To Emails

This has to be the cardinal sin in the corporate world. With emails being used as the main communication between your co-workers, customers, suppliers and almost everyone else who has business dealings with you, not responding to their emails is not acceptable. Even worse is if your boss is in the loop and you haven’t responded to your key customer. This mere “slip-up” may cost your company millions of ringgit and possibly even your job.

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2) Emailing the Wrong Recipient

This would come a close 2nd to not responding to an email. While it’s okay if the email was just a general article or thank you note, but imagine if the emailed contained sensitive data and you emailed the wrong recipient who is your competitor or one of your key client. This not only shows your lack of professionalism, but also shows that you may not be a detail-oriented person.

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3) "Lip” Service

Ever been in a meeting and the presenter ends his or her presentation by saying that inputs from the team are welcomed before developing the end deliverable? Upon sending your inputs, days, weeks and months past, yet there is no indication that he or she incorporated your inputs or addressed your concern in the end deliverable. This is a common case (and may even be labelled as bluffing) and is a crime under “Lip” service, i.e. your actions contradicts your words. This would definitely earn you demerit points among your colleagues and your reputation as a team player would be tarnished. 

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4) Over-promising (and under-delivering)

We are all humans and whether it’s from the goodness of your heart or wanting to set high goals for yourself, we tend to over-promise things. At work, we tend to over-promise either by promising to deliver the work in a shorter time frame, or completing additional tasks or a combination of both. The downfall happens the moment we can’t deliver on our promises and from then on, we will be labelled as an unreliable staff.


5) Inattentiveness

At the workplace, there are 2 types of people; those who can concentrate for hours and those who require regular breaks. While it might be normal to take regular breaks, however, if you are in a Top Management meeting, you are expected to concentrate during the meeting. Inattentiveness can give rise to office rumors as people may label you as not being serious with you work.


6) Temper

Some of us have impeccable patience and can keep a cool head in stressful situations. However, some of us are less patient and can exhibit tempers, ranging from just a loud “sigh”, to cursing at someone or in extreme cases, hitting your co-workers. While an odd “sigh” here and there may be acceptable, but if a pattern develops whereby you tend to raise your temper in heated moments, this will only end in 1 result, which is the exit door. No one wants to work with a Hulk when he becomes angry.

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Image Credit: http://stevesammons.me


7) The Lone Wolf Habit

We all want others to respect our privacy and to mind their own business. Translating this to the corporate world, some people become “The Lone Wolf”; i.e. prefer to do work solo, rather than as a team. Given that today’s world require cross-departmental collaboration, roles that only requires working solo is fast becoming extinct. By being labelled as “The Lone Wolf”, you are risking your professional reputation and not to mention being passed on for promotions and bonuses.

This article was contributed by Tarminder Singh.

Tarminder is a fitness enthusiast and believes that one can achieve anything in life with great passion and character. A Subang boy with a dream that his boyhood club Liverpool can win the Premier League within his lifetime.
Posted on March 7, 2016 and filed under Work & Relationships.