We spend a lot of time at work. In fact, our colleagues can become our close friends, and our work desks can become as familiar as home. This familiarity, while it is encouraged in the modern business culture, does not mean that we can act and present ourselves as though we are at home!

Unfortunately, some employees do. As a manager, you need to be able to manage this aspect of your employees.

Managing professionalism can be difficult because it means that you can be dealing with uncomfortable issues. Professionalism refers to ‘the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person’. Unfortunately, these conducts, aims and qualities do not come naturally to some people, nor do some people use initiative in this regard.  Young employees need to be mentored on professional behaviour and assisted through the transition of a student into an employee.

When the lines between professionalism and the colleague-friendship relationship get blurred, managing can get a little tricky.

You will need to take employees with a poor understanding of professional behaviour, by this I mean, people who do not dress appropriately; who do not groom themselves appropriately; who do not use enough deodorant; who are scruffy; who do not present themselves to clients appropriately, and politely instruct them to stop the offensive behaviour.

These offenses need to be addressed. If they are not addressed, what will your clients think of your business, and the business you give them? It does not bode well.

Having these tough love conversations with your staff will be uncomfortable but are vital in maintaining professionalism in the office and in the face of clients.  Consistency is key, same rules for everyone.

I have had to deal with all sorts of awkward staff grooming issues, what uncomfortable conversations have you had to have?