We often hear that it is important to behave “professionally” in the workplace. If you want to grow ahead, be taken seriously, and have your boss and colleagues think of you as an asset to the team and the organization, then you must start doing things in a professional manner.
But what does being professional really mean? What does it mean to your employers? Surely, it’s good to do your job well but does it many more aspects to it?
Professionalism is the way a person conducts himself / herself in the workplace. An individual who shows consideration and respect for others demonstrates a commitment to professionalism. Likewise, a person who keeps his or her word, demonstrates loyalty, and exceeds expectations is demonstrating professionalism.
There are three key elements that demonstrate a professional attitude. These are:
- Treat other with respect
- Keep your word
- Be loyal
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Treat Others with Respect
Your company has two vice-presidents that interact with employees on a regular basis. One VP, Cathy, is known for being approachable and friendly to employees. She speaks to everyone she comes in contact with and makes it a point to know the staff members’ names. Cathy is never angry or upset, even when she has to handle problems. She remains calm and speaks respectfully to everyone she communicates with. As a result, employees respect her and are anxious to help her in any way they possibly can.
Ken, the other VP, has a reputation for being rude and demanding to employees. He rarely speaks to people he passes in the hallway, won’t look up from his phone when he talks to someone, and frequently is heard yelling when he is upset. He makes inappropriate comments to his team members, calling them names and telling them they are terrible at their jobs. He’s even been heard yelling at customers and vendors on the phone. As a result, his employees avoid communicating with him and do the bare minimum to keep their jobs.
Treating co-workers, employees, customers, vendors, and managers with respect is a vital aspect of demonstrating professionalism. Some ways to show respect are using the appropriate tone and words while communicating, focusing on the other person while speaking, and maintaining a calm demeanor even if the other person becomes angry.
Keep Your Word
Professionalism is based on trust. Whether a company makes a commitment, a team promises something, or an individual says they will do something, keeping that commitment is fundamental to exhibiting professionalism. Is there a valid reason why you couldn’t keep your word? Likely, but being professional means eliminating excuses and following through on what you said you would do. Nothing leaves a worse taste in a person’s mouth than to feel that they were lied to or to feel that a person didn’t follow through on their word.
Loyal employees are loyal to your company. They work hard for their pay and are committed to your company’s success. Loyal employees may someday leave, but while they work for you they do their best and often even put the company’s interests ahead of their own.
Remarkably loyal employees hit the next level. They aren’t just loyal to the company.
They’re also loyal to you–even though their loyalty can be displayed in surprising ways.