The Six Stages of Professional Maturity Understanding the Progression of Professionalism
I believe people progress through six natural stages of professional maturity. Some mature more quickly than others, and some mature farther than others.
As leaders, awareness of these six stages helps us assess the people we bring onto our teams, determine which responsibilities to delegate to our current people, and inform us on how to help them grow.
We should work to improve in every stage all of the time. But before I describe the stages, I’d like to point out just how important the first two criteria are: character and professionalism.
Though I am presenting the stages as a sequential progression, I placed character first for a reason. Without standard levels of character, people usually don’t progress to the next stage of professionalism. Strong character is fundamental. We should work to refine our character throughout our entire life. Never settle for “good enough.” Hopefully, we adopted foundational morals as children, like learning not to lie, cheat, or steal. As adults, we should aim to develop our character even further. We can always be more loving, more patient, or more humble, for instance.
Second, we must practice basic professional skills. In my next article, I will further define professionalism and how to pre-plan our response when someone falls short in this area. But I will be clear on this point, if a person is not moderately mature in these two areas, he really isn’t someone I can work with. Why? Because we will constantly be dealing with issues and drama, which will hinder us from getting somewhere productive together. Lack of character and professional skills from any individual affects the entire team.
Here are the Six Stages of Professional Maturity:
As a leader, quietly observe those around you. In what level are they lacking? Place them in responsibilities that match their level of professional maturity. Then look in the mirror. In which areas are you deficient? Work on all of these stages all of the time. I encourage you to hone those that may be holding you back.
For Further Reading: