What Does Being Professional in the Workplace Mean?

2 min read
Five people wearing suits and smart casual attires in a professional workplace

Professional? Ah, that overused piece of workplace adjective. Yet you may wonder: what the heck does it really mean?

In today’s corporate setting, using the word vaguely is so common that we often forget what it really means. Anyone can say that they are a professional but can’t prove it anyway. So, in the quest to getting to the root of it, Best 10 Resume Writers reviews what being professional means:

Four Definitions of Professionalism in the Workplace

1. Honesty

Beware how you view honesty as an employee. There’s a confusing tinge in it. It’s funny how workplace authorities say “You’ve been a trustworthy keeper of the company’s trade secret for years. Thanks for your professionalism.” then in another second, “You’re an unprofessional toad! You screwed that deal by telling the clients that the materials aren’t made in Germany but China.”

Let’s be straight with it. Honesty does not favor anybody. If your values and principles are flexible depending on who benefits, then it’s not professionalism at all.

2. Leadership

We’ll start with what leadership isn’t: managing people like kids and measuring them through senseless yardsticks. Real leadership is openness, communication, and human empathy. It’s about giving your team a reason to go back and work again the next day.

If leadership is the ability to take charge of unruly things, being a follower is the ability to make yourself flexible even in tough times. No, a follower is different from a mouse. A mouse will obey because he fears a consequence, while a follower will abide with discernment.

Oh, what does it have to do with professionalism? Because leadership and follower-ship are built on healthy trust and respect: the same principles that build a great organization and a happy market base.

3. Competence

Any fool can know, but only a few can understand, and so the old adage goes. Real professionals are the ones who could put their knowledge into some real-life use. Hence, getting a certificate or a diploma does not indicate professionalism, having useful skills and knowledge does. And in the workplace, your ability to put your knowledge into result-driven action means a lot to career building.

The truth is, no matter how many fancy papers you got in that envelope, the only way to prove that you’re a professional is to make things happen. So, stop basing your merit on papers and bring out real results. Managers aren’t after what’s written in pieces of paper. Well, unless when you’re still in the hiring process. So, once you get the chance to show off your skills and talent, make sure to create a notable impression.

4. Grit

Of course, the most widely known sign of professionalism is sticking to your promises no matter what it takes. Thus, it needs a lot of grit in play. It’s continuing to work on a tough task or eager to finish a worthy project even at your expense.

Grit plays a role in the success of the whole organization, and if all workers have it, nobody will ever have to worry about tough things getting done. Because you know you can always trust a person with a professional attitude.

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