Summary: Few qualities are as key as professionalism. The consummate business professional combines the right attitude, competence, and awareness of image and etiquette. Moreover, professionalism does not stop when you leave the office. Professionals lead by example whether they are at a meeting or a business social event. Upholding business professionalism is fundamental to making others feel comfortable doing business with you.
Tips To Maintaining Business Professionalism:
1. Portray A Professional Image – The majority of companies in the U.S. enforce a mandatory dress code; therefore, it is your responsibility to adhere to these requirements, even if it is not discussed during orientation. Although dress codes will vary from organization to organization, most corporate dress codes prohibit shorts or excessively tight clothing.
Always be aware of what is appropriate for the industry and situation. For example, a construction supervisor might meet with a client while wearing jeans and a flannel shirt; however, an entry-level office worker who wears the same clothing would not be considered appropriate. To get an idea of what is acceptable, observe the leaders at your company and follow their example.
2. Embody Professional Qualities ¬- Much like a dress code, standards of business professionalism can vary by industry and company. Nevertheless, the core values of professionalism exist in every industry. Companies are always in search of employees that embody the following qualities: integrity, credibility, pride, promptness, accountability, and competence. Additionally, lauded professionals are excellent communicators who are eager to learn and elevate the work of others.
3. Remember: You Are Always “On” ¬- Never forget that when
you interact with others in and out of the office, you are always on “camera”. Your reactions to challenges, pressure, and stressful situations are always being judged. Regardless of the setting, always consider the consequences of your actions. Remain aware of your behavior even in casual venues, such as holiday parties (especially those involving alcohol) and networking events.
4. The Three Aspects of Professionalism – Numerous variables come together to define “professionalism.” We have distilled the many facets of professionalism into three key areas that you and your team should always reflect on.
Interpersonal Skills – Your interaction with contacts, coworkers, clients, vendors, supervisors, and subordinates sets the tone. Treating these people with respect and consideration is crucial.
Attitude – Always maintain a positive and forward-thinking attitude. Be friendly to others and avoid getting too low when things don’t work out how you expected. Remember, your body language reveals a lot and should radiate confidence and openness, without hostility or aggression.
Leadership – A strong leader is one that unites a team and creates synergy between staff. Leaders that instill value, quality and integrity in their employees are responsible for setting the bar on what is considered professional. Additionally, you want to help your team bring solutions to the table; not complaints. Take the initiative by being a leader.
*Credit* – Dale Carnegie