What It Means to Be Professional And What to Do When Someone Is Not
I sometimes find myself getting frustrated when someone I work with is lacking in professional decorum. They may not meet a deadline we agreed upon, or they may not dress or act in a way which I would consider common sense in the workplace. From the Six Stages of Professional Maturity I described in my last article, I want to single out the second stage: Consummate Professional. Let’s dig deeper to define what it means to be professional and what to do when people are not.
First, let us approach the subject with a certain level of humility. After all, we too can improve our level of professionalism. Moreover, we had to develop these skills early on in our careers as well. Someone had to lead us, and maybe push us, to the next level. So when we are assessing people in this area, I hope we are not condescending—even in our own thoughts about them.
Let us also approach the matter with a reasonable level of expectation for the people we lead. I do not want to waste my energy on addressing basic professional skills with those who work closely with me. In fact, I expect higher levels of professionalism from them than I do from others.
As you read through this list, you may think “of course, this is basic stuff.” But the reason I am defining these points for us as leaders is to be very clear about our expectations and what to do when they are unmet. For example, being polite may be a standard expectation. But many people are not. When someone I meet or interview is not polite, regardless of the status they have achieved, I see big red flags. This is not acceptable. So my inclination is to steer clear of this person, not to correct or react. In this case, my focus is not to right the wrong around me. Rather, it is my responsibility to carefully select whom I work with.
Here is a list that defines professionalism. It is a great place to start if you want to print it and discuss it with your team. Have a conversation with them as a group or individually about each item.
What It Means to be Professional
Unprofessionalism is contagious. Here is how I deal with it among the people I lead. I hope we are ready as leaders to deal with all sorts of unprofessional behaviors. Regardless of their professional level, remember it is an honor to lead people, not a burden. For Further Reading:
What to Do When Someone You Lead is Unprofessional
Unprofessionalism is contagious. Here is how I deal with it among the people I lead.
I hope we are ready as leaders to deal with all sorts of unprofessional behaviors. Regardless of their professional level, remember it is an honor to lead people, not a burden.
For Further Reading: