Being a professional is more than how we look, our formal education and professional achievements. It is also the qualities, values and behaviors we choose to display in the workplace.
Regardless of your job title, education, or position within an organization, everyone is expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at work. You are there to do a job, represent the company and are responsible for your behaviors during your working hours.
Let’s take a look at some characteristics a true professional demonstrates in the workplace:
Your professionalism starts with how you conduct yourself inside and out. It is carrying yourself with respect. Your communication, appearance, behaviors should reflect respect, integrity, honesty, and empathy. It is important to keep that balance in both your professional and personal life. Having control of your emotions without losing your poise while facing challenging situations should be an area to focus on in the workplace.
A true professional follows through with their commitments, is accountable for their share of the work, and completes assignments on time. Being reliable also means being punctual and prepared in meetings.
Seeking knowledge, and trainings to enhance your skills, demonstrates your desire to show competency and keeps you up to date with the trends in your profession. That is your responsibility as a true professional.
Organizational skills are key to be considered a professional. It means you understand your priorities at hand, know how to manage your time wisely, and stay focused on accomplishing goals and objectives.
It is also a visual factor. My mother used to tell me that “your house is an image of yourself.” As I translate that in the workplace, it means a place where people feel welcome, comfortable and at ease. A clean and organized area where I can have people come in to visit and conduct meetings, a place where I or others can find things easily.
When I think of communication etiquette I think of diplomacy. You represent a company/organization; therefore, any form of communication should be conducted with the outmost respect and following company protocol. It is using proper language with everyone at work and maintaining conversations all work-related. That is how you show maturity, respect, work ethics, professionalism and most of all YOU set the standards for those around you.
Be the Brand:
Think of work as your second family name. Maintaining a positive attitude and serving as an advocate/ambassador is what will mark your brand. With that a professional understands that embracing a collaborative work environment is also his/her responsibility. Innovation, creativity, and commitment should be part of the characteristics you want others to know you by because in the end, a professional is not something you described yourself, it is a label you hope others will apply to you.