10 Characteristics of Professionalism by Chris Joseph
Dressing for success will help establish you as a professional.
Being a professional in your chosen field means much more than wearing a coat and tie or possessing a college degree and a noted title. Professionalism also has to do with how you conduct yourself during your business affairs. True professionals possess a number of important characteristics that can apply to virtually any type of business.
A professional is neat in appearance. Be sure to meet or even exceed the requirements of your company's dress code, and pay special attention to your appearance when meeting with prospects or clients.
Your demeanor should exude confidence but not cockiness. Be polite and well-spoken whether you're interacting with customers, superiors or co-workers. You need to keep your calm, even during tense situations.
As a professional, you will be counted on to find a way to get the job done. Responding to people promptly and following through on promises in a timely manner is also important, as this demonstrates reliability.
Professionals strive to become experts in their field, which sets them apart from the rest of the pack. This can mean continuing your education by taking courses, attending seminars and attaining any related professional designations.
Professionals such as doctors, lawyers and public accountants must adhere to a strict code of ethics. Even if your company or industry doesn't have a written code, you should display ethical behavior at all times.
Maintaining Your Poise
A professional must maintain his poise even when facing a difficult situation. For example, if a colleague or client treats you in a belligerent manner, you should not resort to the same type of behavior.
Your phone etiquette is also an important component of professional behavior. This means identifying yourself by your full name, company and title when you place a call. Be sure not to dominate the conversation and listen intently to the other party.
During written correspondence, keep your letters brief and to the point. Your tone should be polite and formal without being "stuffy." This also applies to email correspondence.
A professional can quickly and easily find what is needed. Your work area should be neat and organized, and your briefcase should contain only what is needed for your appointment or presentation.
Professionals are accountable for their actions at all times. If you make a mistake, own up to it and try to fix it if possible. Don't try to place the blame on a colleague. If your company made the mistake, take responsibility and work to resolve the issue.
Examples of Professionalism
A professional takes the time to understand company policies and abides by those guidelines. For example, if the company dress code requires tattoos and body piercings to be covered in the workplace, the professional employee understands that the company wishes to portray a particular image to the public. It is not a statement against tattoos, it is a policy designed to prevent employees from alienating customers and vendors who would prefer to not see tattoos.
Managers and executives associate professionalism with reliability and responsibility. A professional employee meets deadlines, submits excellent work and is available for corrections. Displaying responsibility and reliability makes a positive impression with company managers and executives, which can lead to pay raises and promotions
A professional attends to his own responsibilities and offers assistance to colleagues when possible. Being a catalyst for effective teamwork is part of taking a professional approach. Your teammates come to rely on you because of your skills and reliability. Being there to assist your co-workers while maintaining your own workload is the sign of a professional.
Conflict in the workplace can happen at a company for any number of reasons. The professional approach to a conflict is to alert management to the issue and allow the company to follow its policy to properly address the situation. A professional does not escalate the situation by taking sides or by trying to resolve the conflict without using proper company procedures.