10 unwritten but unprofessional manners inside workplaces

Here are five unprofessional manners that you might encounter in the workplace, along with some real-life examples or scenarios.

1. Gossiping and Spreading Rumors

Gossiping or spreading rumors about coworkers is one of the common unprofessional behaviors you can observe in a workplace.

This kind of behavior can create a toxic working environment, and it can also damage relationships among team members.

For example, let’s say a group of employees are gathered during a lunch break to discuss a colleague’s personal life, spreading unfounded rumors about their behavior outside of work.

This kind of behavior is not only disrespectful, but it can also lead to distrust and tension within the team.

2. Poor Communication

Effective communication plays a vital role in a productive work environment.

Unprofessional behavior such as ignoring emails or failing to respond promptly can hinder collaboration and workflow.

For instance, suppose a team member consistently misses deadlines because they fail to communicate their progress or challenges with the rest of the team.

In that case, this lack of communication not only affects their performance but also impacts the overall success of the project.

3. Lack of Respect for Boundaries

Maintaining personal and professional boundaries is crucial in any workplace.

Certain behaviors such as invading personal space, borrowing personal items without permission, or making inappropriate comments can create discomfort and resentment among colleagues.

For instance, suppose a coworker frequently interrupts others during meetings, dismisses their ideas, or makes inappropriate jokes that cross the line of professionalism.

This lack of respect for boundaries can lead to a hostile work environment and damage morale.

4. Unreliability

Consistency and reliability are crucial qualities in the workplace.

However, unprofessional behavior such as arriving late regularly, missing deadlines, or failing to fulfill commitments can disrupt workflow and harm team dynamics.

For instance, consider a team member who frequently calls in sick at the last minute or fails to complete their assigned tasks on time, thereby forcing other team members to take up the slack.

This lack of reliability not only reflects poorly on the individual but also undermines the team’s ability to achieve its objectives.

5. Inappropriate Use of Technology

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in the workplace, but its misuse can lead to unprofessional behavior.

This includes using company resources for personal use, browsing social media during work hours, or engaging in inappropriate online interactions.

For example, imagine an employee who spends hours scrolling through social media feeds instead of focusing on their work tasks or uses company email to send personal messages unrelated to work.

This misuse of technology not only wastes valuable time and resources but also reflects poorly on the individual’s professionalism.

6. Lack of Accountability

One common unprofessional trait is the absence of accountability, where individuals fail to take responsibility for their actions or decisions.

For instance, consider a team member who consistently blames others for their mistakes or refuses to acknowledge their role in a project’s failure.

This lack of accountability not only erodes trust among colleagues but also undermines teamwork and productivity.

7. Negative Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial in the workplace as negativity can have a significant impact on the environment and the people around us.

A negative attitude can manifest itself in constant complaining, pessimism, or cynicism, which can spread like poison and demoralize coworkers.

For example, imagine a colleague who consistently criticizes company policies, projects, or coworkers, and sows discord within the team.

Such negativity can have a damaging effect on morale and collaboration, and ultimately hinder the organization’s success.

8. Poor Work Ethic

Unprofessional behavior often stems from a poor work ethic, characterized by laziness, procrastination, or a lack of dedication to job responsibilities.

For example, imagine an employee who consistently cuts corners, submits subpar work, or fails to meet deadlines due to a lack of motivation or commitment.

This poor work ethic not only reflects poorly on the individual but also affects team productivity and undermines the organization’s reputation for quality and reliability.

9. Resistance to Feedback

Professional growth and development depend on receiving constructive feedback and making continuous improvements.

However, some individuals may have unprofessional traits that make them resist or reject feedback.

They may perceive it as a personal attack instead of an opportunity for growth.

For example, a team member who reacts defensively or becomes hostile while receiving constructive criticism may not be willing to accept their areas for improvement or make the necessary changes to their behavior or performance.

This resistance to feedback can impede individual and organizational growth, and it can also create tension within the team.

10. Lack of Integrity

Integrity is a crucial trait in any professional setting, which involves being honest, transparent, and following ethical principles.

Unprofessional behavior often includes a lack of integrity, such as dishonesty, deceit, or unethical conduct.

For instance, consider a colleague who falsifies their qualifications or experience to get a promotion or engages in unethical practices, such as taking credit for someone else’s work or manipulating data to meet targets.

This lack of integrity not only undermines trust and credibility but also jeopardizes the organization’s values and reputation.


To address unprofessional traits in the workplace, it is important to commit to fostering a culture of accountability, positivity, diligence, openness to feedback, and integrity.

By promoting these positive traits and addressing unprofessional behavior promptly and effectively, organizations can create a positive and productive work environment that supports success.

Recognizing and addressing unprofessional behaviors is essential for maintaining healthy relationships among colleagues and a positive work environment.

To cultivate a culture of professionalism and mutual respect, workplaces can promote respect, communication, reliability, and appropriate technology use.