Professional – A person engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
What does it really mean?
Trustworthy, Competent, Respectful, Considerate, Courteous, Dependable, Cooperative, Committed, Empathetic and Acts with Integrity
Professionalism is really a specific style of behavior in the workplace that encompasses a broad range of activities, personality traits, and perspectives exhibited in our behavior. How do we improve our professionalism? Well by focusing on any one trait at any given time and training ourselves and practicing on these traits regularly will certainly improve our professionalism.
Reflect on a time that someone at work really impressed you. What impressed you about that individual? Was it their approachability? Was it how they seemed to carry themselves with unwavering confidence? Maybe it was how considerate that person was to hear out everyone in the room. Odds are, this person exhibited a number of the traits it takes to be professional.
Food For Thought:
Professionalism seems to be greatly influenced by culture. This could be the culture of the work environment, the local area, the region in the country. Professionalism is also gauged against other people’s expectations or standards. It is also situational in nature. How is it Judged? Through Communication, Image, Competence, and demeanor. It is judged within the eye of the beholder.
Write down 5-10 attributes that you value related to professionalism, have one or many of your peers rate you on those attributes. What you find, is something that you think you are really good at, may not be what other people truly focus on. It is great to get feedback and identify the attributes that others see or don’t see in you. Again, by selecting the attributes that YOU feel best to represent professionalism, these are the items that YOU more than likely judge it on. I would ask your raters to choose 3-6 more values that they attribute professionalism to and rate you on those as well.
-Alex Smith, Account Manager