What is Professionalism?-A complete overview about Professionalism
What is the meaning of Professionalism?
Professionalism is actually an essential trait both in business and society. This quality drives a person’s appearance, personality, and professional interaction, the band which provides others with a first impression. Most people can actively recognize professionalism or the lack of it in others. But find it extremely difficult to define it, when considering their own behavior.
The word professionalism is associated with being professional in terms of exhibiting an outcome that a particular profession demands. A person can be associated with any profession but he would not be termed as professional till the time he demonstrates the standards of the highest degree that a particular profession requires. Knowledge, exhibition, demonstration of professional capabilities, and the experience people derive from such professionals get reflected in form the of professionalism.
You remove the word professionalism and what you have is an experience that in no way reflects the intricacies associated with a profession. Every profession has its standard and the people who comply with such standards are call professionals. It is the display of professional capabilities that constitute professionalism and give true meaning to a particular profession.
There would be different meanings for this particular word ‘Profession’ but each is true in its own sense but what they miss is an Experience. The experience that one gets when one deals with a professional vis-à-vis normal person. It is in this experience lies the true essence of professionalism.
Examples of Professionalism:
Let’s look it at more deeply and see what exactly professionalism is and how it provides an experience of its own.
A patient goes to a doctor:
- The doctor without hearing anything asks the patient to get admitted to his hospital.
- He talks of everything but an ailment.
- He does 10 different tests and keeps the patient clueless.
- He is non-approachable and always busy with one thing or another.
- He charges a hefty fee and puts huge medical charges.
- He does cure the patient but the satisfaction was missing.
Now this unhappy patient experiences the same problems again. Instead of his previous doctor, he goes to a new, well-known, and renowned doctor:
- The doctor genuinely hears the problems faced by the patient.
- He asks the patient to get admitted so that he can keep him under his supervision.
- He starts the medication and at each step briefs the patient about the situation.
- He is available at all times and takes a proper interest in the patient.
- When the patient gets cured the doctor charges him the right amount justifying each part involved in the treatment.
- While leaving the doctor gives his number to the patient and asks him to call in case of any associated problem.
You would find a difference in the approach taken by the two doctors:
- The way they diagnose
- The way they listen
- The way they treat
- The way charge etc.
The difference in approach reflects in the form of experience and it is this experience that separates the professionals from the novices and provides true meaning to the word professionalism.
The second doctor demonstrated professionalism in its truest form.
Characteristics of Professionalism:
Hence, a professional must have the following characteristics:
- A good role model for others including, their behavior, attitude, and relationships.
- Good Timekeepers – always in before time, uses time well.
- Dresses appropriate way to the different audience without being patronizing or putting people down.
- Knowledgeable about the job, organization, etc.
- Good with people.
- Communicate effectively, whatever the circumstances-actively listens.
- Manages their time well.
- Works well under pressure.
- Fulfills deadlines.
- Prioritizes effectively – Is prepared to put in the time and effort to get things done and have a reasonable work-life balance.
- Is accountable and take responsibility for what they do and say, for what they leave undone.
- Can run effective meetings- They are well versed in when to speak and when not speak in a meeting.
- They are open to the views and suggestions of others and make decisions in the organization’s best interest.
- Professionals see themselves as part of the solution rather than the problem.
If you are keen to succeed in any business, you need to demonstrate that you have the potential to fulfill that role. Just wanting the job, the title, status, and financial reward are simply not enough. You will also gain a huge amount of personal satisfaction in knowing you have what it takes to be a great professional.
- One of the greatest of any workplace is developing work relationships with coworkers, customers, or clients. To become professional you must handle your emotions with grace and intelligence.
- It is natural to feel angry with others, even on the job, however, it is never appropriate to act out on anger.
- Take responsibility for your actions.
- Develop solid working relationships by showing kindness and respect to all
- There can be incidents on the job or with coworkers that may cause your happiness or harm. Figure out how to promptly and calmly discuss this with the appropriate party, avoiding drama and tattling.
- Avoid gossip
Professionalism in Business:
The basis of professional etiquette stands on the ethics of respecting other individuals in your workplace and displaying courteous behavior during business interactions. As a working professional, it is expected from you to understand the culture of your workplace and thus, it becomes essential to follow some basic professional manner.
Professional etiquette can have a long-lasting and far-fetched impact on professional life; be it your personal career growth or a rising business for your company. Your professional etiquette can thus, put you in the good/bad book of your immediate boss or potential clients.
Basic professional etiquette tips:
Mentioned below are some basic professional etiquette tips which you can follow to make a great impact on everyone in your company.
- Always listen to others attentively. A good listener is always dear to every client. Speak only when the other person has finished talking instead of interrupting in between.
- Keep a low but clear and calm voice while conversing. Your tone should always polite.
- While conversing always look into the eyes of the other person and avoiding showing your back or looking elsewhere.
- Keep your conversations short and to the point instead of getting into irrelevant topics and discussions. Remember this is a business talk and not a family reunion.
- Maintain your sobriety and politeness even if the client speaks something offensive or rude and avoid replying back in a harsh tone/words.
- Avoiding fidgeting with your dress or putting your hands on the face while in a conversation.
- When shaking hands always offer a firm handshake with your fingers tilted down and your thumb up. However, ensure your handshake is not so firm that it crushes or hurts the other person’s hand. This indicates that you are dominant.
- Limit the time of handshake to 2 to 3 seconds and take your hand back gracefully.
- Avoid patting the back of the hand.
- While shaking hands, greet the person by looking into his/her eyes.
- Always wear neat and nicely pressed formal clothes. Choose corporate shades while you are picking up clothes for your office wear.
- Women should avoid wearing exposing dresses and options for little but natural make-ups. Men need to keep their hair (including facial hair) neatly trimmed and set.
- Always polish your shoes.
- Keep your nails clean.
- Wear clothes which you are comfortable in and can carry well. This is very important when you are in a business meeting or client presentation.
Introduction and greeting etiquettes:
- When you are getting introduced, either shake hands or nod your head.
- If you are in charge of introducing other people always introduce the lower-ranked person to the higher-ranked one.
- When first introduced, stand up to meet or greet the person.
Electronic communication etiquettes:
- While communicating with your colleagues, seniors, or clients through e-mails, always address the person with ‘dear’ ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ followed by a title (Mr./Mrs./Miss, etc.) and his/her name and send your mail with ‘Your sincerely’ or ‘Yours truly’, whatever suits best with your name and designation. Also, always mention a subject for all your official mails.
- Keep official mails preferably short and precise. However, if the subject demands elaborate details and explanations, go ahead but use a friendly formal language instead of a casual one.
- While speaking over telephones, always greet the other person while starting and ending the call. Always speak politely.
- Include your contact details and the date while sending faxes.
- While participating in conference calls introduce all the participants to each other at the beginning.
Professionalism at Workplace:
Why is professionalism is important in the workplace?
Professionalism in the workplace is important to ensure good performance by all. If everyone is professional, everyone will do the best they can at their job. Professionalism in the workplace is required to ensure a good team spirit. If people work professionally, they will know how to value their organizational goals, along with their personal ones. Professionalism is required to keep all the employees motivated. Happy employees are positive brand ambassadors for the organization. Keeping the employees motivated, is important to keep a good reputation in the office.
It is important to ensure Justice to everyone’s efforts. In a professional environment, a person’s quality of work is taken into consideration along with the quality of their work. This phenomenon does justice and appreciates the efforts of the employees. Professionalism in the workplace helps in maintaining the right amount of communication at the workplace. It also ensures that those who require to be heard, are heard.
Professionalism is the axis around which any organization revolves. Without the axis, the organization will be lost in the galaxy of politics, mind games, and blame games.
Tips for professionalism in the workplace:
So, now that we know what professionalism in the workplace is all about, it is important to know how to induce it in the employees. For the employees that make an organization, it is very important to ensure that professionalism is understood by them. So how do you conduct “professionalism training in the workplace”?
Keep a uniform environment for communication. If you wish to refer to each other with formality (That is with the surname, or using “sir” and ” ma’am”), then let that be constant for all, in the workplace. If you want a more friendly, environment, then let everyone use the first name. Whatever you choose, it has to be constant and uniform for all.
It is important that you make sure that all employees are aware of the professional environment at work. While their personal issues will be considered by the management when required, they need to abstain from discussing them during office hours. This keeps the office environment free from empathy-related biases about productivity.
Employees should be told to abstain from the concept of competition bashing. Often in the heat of the moment, employees, ho about bashing their competition’s reputation. This would include complaining to the management about certain aspects of them or spreading rumors via the grapevine. This should be avoided at all times. If anyone is found indulging in such activities, strict action should be taken at the earliest.
Punctuality is very important. If the office has fixed working hours, it should be abided by all the employees. In case there is a deviation by any employee, either they should inform beforehand, the cover of the work in the near future, or complete their day’s target in the span of time.
A professional dress code should be maintained. Luring seniors by wearing provocative clothes, is a very well tried and tested method. If one wishes to avoid the use of such tactics as the workplace, and avoid the possibility of fraternizing within the workplace, it is important to make sure that everyone dresses in a certain manner, that is acceptable by all in the management.
These training tips are to show how to keep the environment professional, yet flexible. A professional environment does not necessarily have to be a restricting one.
Lack of professionalism in the workplace:
Professionalism in the workplace is responsible for several positive actions in the organization. As a flip side to the coin, lack of professionalism, will be responsible for several negatives.
- Lack of motivation at work, often, occurs due to a lack of professionalism.
- Lack of professionalism will lead to employees not thinking of the organization as their own, but as a place where they are till something better comes up. It will lead to declining job satisfaction.
- Lack of professionalism leads to unethical acts in the company that would mar its reputation.
- Lack of professionalism leads to a higher attrition rate, which keeps the organization’s recruitment budget in use at all times, causing it a financial strain.
- It also leads to a lack of loyalty between the management and the employees, making the basic functioning in the organization difficult.
- A good character
- Be honest
- Be reliable
- Be positive
- Be true to your self
- See your job as an extension of who you are
Here are some points on developing a professional manner:
- Be well-groomed, clean and pressed, head to tie, every day.
- If you have a moment’s doubt about whether something is appropriate to wear in the workplace, don’t wear it .
- Avoid clothes that are too tight or revealing.
- Use restraint with cologne and perfume.
- Hide tattoos.
Professionalism in Communication:
- Effective communication in the workplace is the driving force of any successful business.
- Speak clearly and in a light, friendly manner.
- Pay attention to others and what goes on around you.
- Communicate honestly and directly but always with tact and respect.
- Express your beliefs even if you don’t agree, but remain positive and supportive to the organization.
- Communicate with care via telephone and email since that is often the first contact others make with you and your company.
- See the big picture and make connections between people and events.
Professionalism in Ethics:
- Always be punctual at your workplace.
- Switch off or put your mobile or cell phones in silence mode during a conference call, business meeting, or corporate presentation. In case it is an urgent call which you need to take excuse yourself and take permission from the others for taking the cell.
- Avoid digging your nose in public.
- Use handkerchiefs when you are coughing/sneezing in public.
- When in a meeting room, always stand up to greet the seniors if they arrive after you.
- Try to ignore and overlook funny or embarrassing sounds when in a meeting or official conversation.
- If you have forgotten somebody’s name ask him/her politely saying that you are sorry that you can not remember the name.
- Always keep a comfortable distance while conversing with others. Avoid standing or sitting too close to the other person. An arm’s length would be ideal to maintain the comfort zone.
- Be careful while smoking and drinking when you have company. Find out if the person is comfortable with your smoking. Avoid excessive drinking when in a client meeting.
- It would be nice if you hold the door for the person who is coming immediately behind you.