Professionalism: The new mantra at work

VITALLY IMPORTANT Being businesslike in the workplace is essential for the effic

Professionalism: The new mantra at work


Genuine success in work and life means more than being in a comfortable position to support yourself and your family, looking forward everyday to go to work, earning the respect of all including family, friends, colleagues and other stake holders in business, utilising one’s powers and skills towards the betterment and growth of self and others and above all relaxing and enjoying the leisure time without guilt of work undone.
All these are possible only when we are having professionalism at work. Some people use professionalism as a pretense to cover their lack of ability to perform the job efficiently. Others use it to for bullying and to gain power. Some use it as a way to impress others. Nevertheless, it gives the notion that only few people use it for its original purpose of providing the basis for effective communication and efficient performance.

Professionalism is not only for the people down the line in organisations to follow but also for the bosses and leaders who are the actual law makers. Many of us do not know what professionalism at work is.

Attitude counts
We presume that by undergoing some personality development workshops and training programmes on soft skills will transform us as professionals. In simple words, we do not require any programmes to inculcate professionalism in us. Doing the work with honesty and sincerity itself is professionalism.

 Because when we do something with honesty and sincerity we would try doing it perfectly and efficiently. In the process we would be approaching things professionally. People who are unprofessional have no regard or respect for the job and the system in the organisation. It has become a fashion to address the employees as one family by the management. But the reality — an employee cannot sit behind thinking it is his or her own business. They have to play it safe definitely as workers and not as family members. As long as things are fine the boss is happy. But once something goes wrong the employee is not a member of the so called family. So it is always good to be very professional at work and follow discipline everywhere. To be professional at work means to include the following:
* Receptiveness and problem solving approach
* Organisation and time management
* Practicing good manners including email and telephone etiquettes
* Displaying honesty and integrity
* Effective communication skills and interpersonal skills

Some people do not show any self-respect in their work. When they lack self-respect it shows their inner characteristic of not being committed. They work for spending money rather than a personal commitment to fulfill the responsibilities.
They consider their personal interests ahead of the responsibilities of stakeholders. The employee needs to understand that he or she needs to serve the stakeholders for the growth of the organisation as it would lead to his or her professional growth. Learning to respect colleagues and their experience is another trait of professionals. Earning that respect from others at work is through an impeccable character.
Values are built in employees from their upbringing which is further strengthened throughout their work life.

Using foul language or cutting offensive jokes at workplace will make people lose respect for self. Passing derogatory remarks of people around us shows our character. In fact it is not our business to interfere in issues we are not connected with.

Key parameters
Cutting the gossips upright is the employee who is a thorough professional. Communicating effectively and maintaining protocol is professionalism. Informal way of talking or addressing a boss, co workers, subordinates and the clients should be avoided.

Putting down someone by way of cheap jokes or sarcasm as it shows how low one can get at workplace. Grooming reflects self-respect and so is to keep a body fit.
Professionalism also means carrying ourselves. Nobody would prefer sloppy, untidy or overweight people as the boss feels them as a competitive disadvantage in the workplace. How can we work when we are not keeping fit and do not feel our body is in good physical shape? By merely grooming themselves neatly or talking in technical terminologies is not professionalism.

What we need to know is in a career we need to work with a boss who is good and will challenge our knowledge and correct us and help us learn from our mistakes. Identifying a good boss is difficult. Such bosses are effective in communication skills and also learn from their subordinates.

An effective boss removes obstacles in the way of employee’s performance. He does not create them. He ensures that he is professional and demonstrates in his actions. Bosses prefer to retain competent people they like and respect. Integrity is the next component of professionalism.

Telling the truth and keeping up promises is the key to success. At the same time do not leak confidential matters to the colleagues. Keeping quiet most of the time when colleagues indulge in cheap gossip would be a better option.

For some people coming la    te and staying back late finally ending up doing nothing but portraying they have worked for a long time means loyalty and commitment to work. They are very deceptive people who actually are disorganised.
These people do not work towards the vision and mission of the organisation. They are in the helm of affairs who dictate rules which they do not follow. Coming on time and leaving on time is displaying professional qualities. Maintaining time and arriving to few minutes earlier to meeting does not cost much. Unprofessional people misuse the power and authority to their convenience.

Some bosses make rule only for subordinates to follow. He or she fails to understand that subordinates are watching the indifferent behavior of the boss. I know a boss of a leading organisation who comes very unprofessionally dressed, not keeping up time, can never convene meetings and if at all meetings take place cannot speak sense. The entire team would be bursting out in laughter after the meetings are over. This boss would preach honesty, integrity, time management, growth and team building which actually he does not follow.

Bosses need to demonstrate leadership with their behavior. Instead of making rules to monitor the subordinates to be professional a good leader should show by his/her actions what professionalism is. Instead of pretending to know the work, professionals learn or take advice from experienced colleagues. Professionals do not criticise others in which they are not experts. They are open-minded to learn from others irrespective of age and experience. Above all a person who is a professional does not bring his or her personal problems to workplace. He or she knows to segregate work and family life. There is no need of sympathy at work. Professionalism makes a person use the resources of the organisation effectively and efficiently. Good way of thinking, good etiquettes, respect for self, people, work and demonstration of commendable character would make the employee a professional. To conclude ‘It’s NOT the job you DO, It’s HOW you DO the job.’
The writer is the Director- Adarsh Institute of Management and Information Technology(AIMIT) Bangalore

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