“Good morning Mr. Bright. Your client called in this morning requesting a sample of our weight loss products and I sent him two. I hope this is ok.”
Does this phrase sound professional?
Probably not! Most employees will wait for Mr. Bright to arrive and make the judgment regarding his own client.
Well, in this article, we will discuss seven examples of professionalism in the workplace as well as the reasons why we should apply them. We will also point out some common mistakes that will see you end your career before it even begins. But first,
What is professionalism?
Having a certain attitude, dressing a certain way, talking in a certain way, and behaving appropriately are all thoughts that cross your mind when you hear the word “professionalism”, right?
Well, part of this is true. You must present a professional image.
However, professionalism doesn’t mean you have to compromise your personality. It simply means you become more self-aware and remain alert at all times while in the workplace. How will others (your clients, colleagues, and managers) interpret your actions and words?
Be the Expert (Specialized Knowledge)
“I really like working with Dr. Atul. He looks like he understands what he is doing and I haven’t heard any complaints from his patients.”
How well do you understand your career or at least the job you are employed to handle?
Employers expect you to maintain a continuous professional disposition. Some even sponsor regular training and refresher courses to equip you with all the knowledge you’ll need.
Because let’s face it, the world and technology are changing every day. Today you can make sales across the globe right from your workstation. 30 years ago, you had to book several flights to close a deal with a client from your neighboring state.
Similarly, it is up to you to enroll for further studies and accreditation if you really want to grow and advance in your career.
However, for starters, try to keep up with the day-to-day developments within your department or region. Be more concerned with your company’s vision and make sure you contribute towards achieving this vision. If you’re handling clients directly, make them feel safe when dealing with you.
Maintain a Positive Can-Do Attitude
A positive outlook will take you far in your career. Some people complain that they have been loyal to an employer for years but all their juniors have received promotions while they are stuck at the same level.
This is because an employee has refused to learn. Employees like these are never willing to try things outside your comfort zone.
Maintaining a can-do attitude and a solution-focused approach makes you more approachable. Keep smiling, be polite and respectful to everyone, stop complaining, and avoid workplace politics and petty fights.
Be Reliable and Accountable
How many times does your boss remind you to submit your assignments? It should be the other way around. Be the type of employee who reminds your boss to have a look at the work you submitted and give you more assignments.
And when you’re tasked with a new project, be committed to delivering it before the stipulated deadline, even if it means going the extra mile.
Secondly, maintain a high level of quality with all your projects. As a professional, don’t rush to submit half-baked assignments. It is better to request more time in situations where the project gets complicated mid-way.
Finally, keep all the concerned parties informed on your progress. Communicate the challenges you encounter and look for viable solutions as a team. Be accountable for your mistakes, words, and actions.
How well do you handle work under pressure? Do you lose it and start shouting or yelling at your colleagues or juniors? Or do you hang up on irate customers?
There is no perfect workplace. They all have their challenges. You need to approach workplace dilemmas carefully. Control your temperament. Your conduct must remain appropriate, especially during tough times.
If you find yourself struggling with how to respond to certain situations, approach a mature colleague or workplace mentor for advice. Always remember that true professionals maintain a calm, business-like demeanor. They will always try to do everything they can to make the situation right.
As a professional, you also need to show genuine respect for people around you, no matter their role or situation. Portray a high level of emotional intelligence. Never let a bad day dictate how you interact with clients or colleagues.
“Mr. Beker, I finished the project layout yesterday and emailed it to you. Please have a look and let me know if you need any revision.”
Competent professionals get the job done. Be reliable and keep your promises. Should anything hinder you from delivering on your promise, communicate and offer a solution. Afterward, do your best to make the situation right.
Don’t be the employee who always makes excuses at the expense of your team members. Focus on finding solutions and not creating trouble.
Be Honest and Maintain Integrity
If you’re in the sales department, I’m sure you understand the struggle it takes to close a sale and earn a commission. Most will argue that there is nothing wrong with someone accepting a corrupt offer as long as the company doesn’t take losses.
You’re wrong. Professionals always do the right thing and never compromise their values, even when it means taking the longest route. They keep their word. That is why employers trust them with promotions and sensitive company projects.
As a professional, you should also be honest and humble. Admit that a job is beyond your scope of expertise. However, be willing to learn and ask for help.
Image is Everything
How can you want a client to take you seriously when you dress like you’re enjoying a weekend at home?
Professionals look the part. They also walk the walk. If you’re an engineer, for example, wear your safety shoes every time you’re in the field. Similarly, don’t let your juniors handle a project without appropriate safety gear if you’re the supervisor.
Professionals gain respect and exude an air of confidence because they are always polished and dressed appropriately for the situation.
True professionals are always awarded valuable projects and are the first to be considered when a promotion opportunity arises. They rarely get in trouble with their managers and are very successful in their careers.
Follow the above examples of professionalism in the workplace and try to improve each day. If you’re a manager or supervisor, you may also want to check out our article on how to improve the workplace.