You may have the greatest of intentions, but if your actions conflict with what others see as professional behaviors, you’ve lost trust and respect.
If you’re concerned that your boss, colleagues, or clients don’t take your work seriously or don’t see you as a professional, ask yourself – what am I doing to influence their perception?
What does it mean to be a professional?
I asked several leaders what it means to them to be a professional and what behaviors they see in those professionals they admire. Here are some of their answers:
- Show up on time and respects others’ time, always. I don’t care if it’s a board meeting or lunch with a friend. What you do with friends says alot about who you are.
- Getting stuff done – on time. If he’s a pro and says ‘I’ll do that’ then I don’t have to worry. He’ll do it. That’s a professional.
- Step up and acknowledge a mistake, take the blame, and not try to come up with excuses or even share the blame with anyone else – that’s professional. She doesn’t dwell on the mistake either. Acknowledge the mistake, assess the situation, move on to the next step.
- Give others credit for their contributions without needing to be in the limelight is a great way to show professionalism. It’s about the work, not the accolades.
- Even-keeled. Keep emotions managed and focus on the problem, that’s professional.
- Pros are instigators. Someone looking around for opportunities, asking questions, and challenging everyone to be their best. It’s like they are a mile ahead on the road reporting back what they see. They aren’t afraid to stir things up if it makes everyone better.
- Seeks diversity – in opinions, perspectives, and ideas. She recognizes diversity as a strength.
- A real pro is confident enough to ask for help. They usually go to a respected or trusted advisor – another pro. It’s how they get past obstacles and roadblocks in their career.
- Confidentiality. All conversations are confidential unless otherwise mentioned. End of story.
No surprises in these professional behaviors. If I had to choose one: a pro does what she says she’s going to do.
How about you? Do you want to be viewed as a professional? How do you define professional? What are the distinguishing behaviors of a professional in your line of work?
If you want to be thought of as a professional, do these things.