Keeping Things Professional October 08 2015

Face it. You probably spend more time with your coworkers than you do your own friends and family. It’s natural that that friendships are developed at the workplace but just as in real life, these relationships sometimes experience some form of conflict. These conflicts can often make accomplishing your daily tasks more difficult and even inhibit career growth. The biggest part of being a ‘professional’ is to know how to keep your personal relationships with coworkers ‘in-check.’ Here are some tips:

Arrange to socialize during your breaks. Socializing excessively during work hours sends a message to your boss that you are not a serious worker, and encourages chatty colleagues to eat up your time. Your clients don’t want to overhear conversations about what you did last night! Your sole focus should always be on your client - period.

Avoid being the ‘salon gossip’, and stay away from those that are
It is best to remain silent or walk away when you hear your co-workers gossip, but if you can't, try reframing the gossip in a positive light. For instance, if your co-worker says, "Did you hear that Jen got a raise and Michael didn't?" You might say something like, "Jen definitely worked hard this year for that raise. She deserves it!" Remember that co-workers who gossip about one another or about the boss likely also gossip about you when you're not around. Try not to give these type of people personal details about your life that you don't want spread around the salon.

Keep conversations light. The salon floor is not the place to share your personal problems! Avoid discussing overly personal conversations like your health, sexuality, personal relationship problems or finances. If a coworker tries to discuss these things with you, do your best to politely shut them down and leave the discussion. An easy way to avoid this situation is to say, ‘Oh, I just remembered something I need to finish,’ and excuse yourself from the conversation.

Be more of a listener than a talker. Not only will you learn more about your coworkers, but you will avoid saying the wrong thing. Keeping silent also sends a strong signal that you don’t want to participate in gossip!

Excel in your position. Focusing on your job is always the best way to show professionalism. For one, it doesn’t give you idle time to engage in personal interaction with co-workers. More importantly, if your sole focus is on your work your superiors will see your dedication and know that any conflicts in the workplace are not your fault.

Show respect for your coworkers and superiors even if they do not extend the same courtesy to you. If you want pleasant co-worker relationships, then you will need to realize that people behave a certain way for their own reasons and there is nothing you can do about it. Be the better person by returning negative behavior with polite, respectful responses.