Group Theory

Professionalism in the Workplace

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Professionalism, the word itself covers a wide area of possibilities and personality traits. Defined as the competence or skill that is expected of a professional or experienced individual, professionalism is what drives a person to operate at peak conditions, to excel at a job or activity, and to do one’s best even if nobody is looking.

In a business setting, professionalism can determine how one performs their daily job activities, how one treats their fellow man, and how each individual sees themselves. Self-awareness is one aspect of professionalism that means a lot to me. How one dresses, carries themselves, walks, and talks, all are integral links in the chain of success. Always dressing appropriate, standing up straight, and looking people in the eye when speaking is not only beneficial, but often necessary in today’s day and age.

Many of my greatest strengths come from having a professional role model in my life. Professionalism is all about the little things. When you shake somebody’s hand, never be sitting. Never miss a chance to hold the door open for someone. When you face hardship or even fail a task, always seek to learn from the experience. Professionalism goes above and beyond what an individual’s job duties are, they are instead what makes a great man or woman, great.

Having been in the United States Air Force, one of our core values is practicing “excellence in all we do.” No matter how trivial a job is, how little recognition you will receive from completing it, and how difficult a decision might be, give it your all (always act as if your boss is watching).

For a more extensive breakdown of what professionalism is, I will provide some critical areas that help determine one’s effectiveness and overall satisfaction in the workplace.

Gossip

While we all love to converse with our peers through our cubicles and at the water fountain, it is essential to remember the consequences of gossip. Word travels fast. Those passing remarks we exchange about an individual’s attire or mood can spread as a rumor, and the end result can be drastically different than the original message. Being a professional means always considering your words wisely, staying aware of other’s feelings, and ensuring that your conversations in the workplace are kept strictly business-oriented.

Negativity

Negativity is like the common cold, contagious and can seriously dampen your effectiveness in the workplace. Be sure always to radiate positive energy and be willing to take on additional work. Those who blame others for their errors, complain about change, and set off a general unpleasant vibe will have a much harder time working with others, finishing tasks, and seeking promotions. Be a pillar of your community, supporting all around you.

Honesty

One of the most influential aspects of professionalism is the value of your word. Just one simple instance of being dishonest can affect your entire trustworthiness. Whether you are calling in sick (when you don’t need to), lying on your resume, or failing to divulge all of the details pertaining to an incident, staying honest in your words is just as important as the work you do. To become a professional, you must create your brand, no matter the type of position you are in. Do not tarnish your reputation; instead, strengthen it.

Leading/Following

Navigating office politics can be difficult, however, knowing when to lead and when to follow is a vital skill to acquire early on. While it is always recommended to take the initiative when you can, even when the task is not in your daily job duties, remember that supervisory roles are there for a reason. Allow managers and supervisors to do their jobs, addressing problems and allocating resources and personnel to solve them; however, always be more than willing to be involved.

Summary

Being a professional offers many benefits that can give someone an advantage over even higher-skilled individuals. By following these suggestions, you can ensure that your workplace interactions are always advantageous, enjoyable, and profitable. Hope it helps!

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