How to Maintain a Professional Code of Conduct

By: Together Abroad 11-07-2016

Categories:* Ethics ,


The idea of maintaining a professional code of conduct is relevant to many individuals throughout their professional lives. You may have come across the term before. You may also have wondered what makes it so important. One importance is that a professional code of conduct allows people to represent their organizations in a suitable manner. Another reason is that work environments become more pleasant to work in when more workers are aware of how they should behave themselves. As an employee, adhering to the right code of conduct will likely make it easier to work efficiently and well with your colleagues. Ensuring your behavior is professionally appropriate will probably also help your coworkers feel more comfortable in the workspace which you share.

Unfortunately, perceptions on what is acceptable professional behavior can vary greatly from person to person. Some people’s limits on what behavior is acceptable inside of a working environment may be stricter than yours, and vice versa. Nevertheless there are some generally applicable rules to observe when it comes to maintaining a professional code of conduct.


It is really important to always be respectful—of your coworker’s feelings and/or concerns. When conflicts arise, as they tend to do, yelling or blatantly disregarding someone else’s point of view is not acceptable. Instead, you should work through issues with courtesy, consideration and indeed, respect. People should feel free to discuss difficulties, and this requires coworkers who can discuss those difficulties in a polite manner.


In many contexts- whether you regularly work as part of a team, or you have many clients that rely on you—allowing yourself to be seen as reliable is both important and necessary. Those you work with should feel comfortable trusting you with certain responsibilities.

This entails turning in your work as consistently as you can, finishing projects on deadline as much as possible, and informing others if you are ever unable to make a deadline or attend a meeting, i.e. communicating clearly. It is, after all, rather inconsiderate to leave others unsure of whether you will be carrying out your tasks. It also means not leaving others to handle responsibilities that were originally allotted to you.

Confidentiality and Privacy

As an employee of an organization you should remain aware that not all information you learn at that workspace should be shared. Likewise, you should remember that if a coworker confides certain information with you, it may not always be wise to pass this information along to others. Respecting confidentiality allows you to gain the trust of your coworkers.

A different, but related topic, is that of privacy. A respect for privacy should also form part of your professional code of conduct. It is not appropriate to be invasive towards your coworkers- to inquire excessively into their lives, or to look into documents of theirs, without permission. Likewise, you should generally maintain your own privacy within your organization. Remember that colleagues are not automatically friends. Some may have no interest in developing personal relationships, which means that appropriate boundaries should be maintained.

Maintaining a professional code of conduct is complicated. Not forgetting these general rules is one way in which you can make sure you are doing so. They shouldnot be overlooked or deemed irrelevant. You should alwaysadhere to them, at any stage of your career.

Barbara Haenan