It is a fact that professionalism at workplace is the key to achieving success. However, very few people actually understand what professionalism really is. To understand what it is and why it is so important to make your mark at the workplace, you need to explore different aspects of the term.
Definition of Professionalism
According to the Oxford dictionary, professionalism [mass noun] is the competence or skill expected of a professional. Simply put, ‘The key to quality and efficiency is professionalism’
“The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person” is the definition of professionalism given by The Merriam-Webster dictionary.
So according to these international definitions professionalism is a combination of different traits and characteristics and this blend of qualities defines a professional at the workplace.
Attributes of Professionalism
Professionalism is the essence of the success of any workplace. Some of the key attributes or traits that define professionalism are as follows:
The very first quality that identifies a professional is his or her knowledge in their area of expertise. It is mainly due to the hard work and commitment in polishing and honing their skills. Their professional documentation like the degrees and certificates they may have earned also play a vital role.
However, not every area of work requires higher degrees and certificates. So, basically, the actual expertise and specialization comes from the desire to learn more about their profession.
Proficiency and Dedication
One of the major qualities of professionals is that they produce their work with proficiency and dedication. They try their level best to keep their word and they never shy away from difficult situations. They are focused on finding solutions rather than complaining about it.
Honesty and Integrity
Honesty and integrity are qualities that are valued in any individual but at workplace such attributes matter even more. A true professional keep their work and are very sincere with their employers and their work. The never compromise on work ethics and their integrity.
Responsibility and Accountability
The sense of responsibility and accountability of one’s own actions and behavior is essential for professional behavior. The pros in any field have this quality in common – they do not believe in blaming others for their mistakes. They hold themselves accountable and take full responsibility of their actions – whether good or bad.
It is very important to be people-oriented if you want to identify yourself as a true professional. Even under pressure, people who maintain a cool and calm demeanor and handle the situation responsibly are true experts and understand the true meaning of professionalism.
Maintaining a smart profile is essential for professionals. People who understand the core of professionalism would never appear at work in shabby dresses disheveled hair. They’re cultured and sophisticated, and they dress suitably for the situation.
Professionalism is all about accomplishments and impact; having a reputation for superiority and being thought of as someone who demonstrates professionalism in any situation can open doors for you both in the workplace your personal ambition.
How to adopt Professionalism
If you want to present yourself clearly, be taken seriously, and convince your employers and colleagues to consider you as an asset, then it is important for you to behave like a committed professional.
Here are some tips that can help you develop true professionalism:
- Do speak up.Taking initiative and giving productive, imaginative ideas shows that you’re a professional who’s there to work.
- Be really competent and believe in yourself. You have the expertise at what you do. You have the ability to perform in the best possible way and you also possess the skills and knowledge that allow you to be the best.
- Be honest, tell the truth and be really transparent related your work and never do away with the work ethics.You must remain consistent where your principles are concerned.
- Respect others.It is vital that you treat everyone with respect regardless of their position as if they are the most important people in the world.
- Be very professional and proficient in your communications. Don’t let your tone become too casual with your employers. Be very consistent and stick to using formal language in your written communications. Poor grammar, spelling or punctuation may give a very unprofessional impression.
- Upgrade yourself. Learn new things about your profession. Attend various seminars and events and keep yourself updated with what’s happening in the field.
- It is essential for you to maintain positivity. It is considered very unprofessional to continuously whine and complain at work. Instead of complaining, try to find solutions for the problems.
- Leave your personal problems outside the office premises. Do not let your private life interfere with your work and tasks at hand.It can negatively impact your reputation as a professional.
- Fight Fair. There are situations that demand prompt actions and you may have to raise your voice against injustices and fight off the official politics.Still, maintain the office protocol and raise voice only about the unfairness and don’t manipulate or benefit from other people’s weaknesses.
- Put in that extra effort. If the need arises, put in some extra time. You don’t need to compromise your personal life and commitments for this. However, in dire cases, a competent professional would never flinch away from doing that extra bit.
- Pay attention to personal grooming. Dress appropriately, keeping the perception of your colleagues. Cleanliness and hygiene are some of the common factors. Both men and women should also avoid wearing flashy clothes and jeweler as it is very distracting.Men should pay attention to their shaves. They should either maintain a clean shave or sport a groomed beard. Short, clean hair is the best option for a professional workplace.
For women, some basic make-up and neat hair is usually OK. However, showing too much skin, wearing dangling jeweler and excessive accessories and make-up is not okay.
- Use an appropriate email signature when you are using your official id. Email is one of the most effective ways of communicating professionally. It is essential that you add a very decent and professional signature at the bottom of an official email. Add your designation within the company, your contact details and your official phone number.
- Put mobile phones on silent mode. You may have one of the coolest ringtones but there is no reason to force other people to listen to it as well. It also breaks the concentration and others may lose their train of thoughts.
- Avoid using your mobile phone when you are with your colleagues and seniors.With the arrival of smartphones, people have developed a very bad habit of using them anywhere and anytime which goes against professionalism.
- Maintaining your fitness and health is also extremely important. It is really difficult to project professionalism when you can’t even maintain your own health, which is a bigger priority than anything else.
- Do not boast about your qualities and skills.You may be an excellent worker and possess top skills in your field of work, but there is no need to boast about your qualities. Avoid being self-centered and egocentric.
- Keep your emotions under control at all times. Professionalism demands complete governance of feelings and emotions. Avoid extreme emotions like pride and anger.
- Be open to feedback – both praise and criticism. Accept both feedbacks gracefully and with maturity incorporate them in your work.
- Learn to move around in the organization’s culture.If you are familiar with the cultural norms,you will be able to modulate your behavior accordingly.
- Learn to manage your time. Having daily to-do lists can help you maximize your productivity and efficiency.
- Don’t overestimate yourself.Unrealistic expectations about yourself can land you in a rut.
In short, professionalism is the trait that indicates quality of expertise, skill or service. Every organization knows that building a professional reputation is the key to success and thus, every company and institution prefers individuals who are competent professionals. These are the people who bag promotions and move ahead.
Professionalism is highly valued by every industry in the modern world. Genuine professionals are in high demand. Professionalism also boosts increased self-worth and dignity and helps you keep yourself marketable for the future.