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OUR SENSE OF PROFESSIONALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 19, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– It’s about substance versus facade.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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The word “professional” means a person is engaged in a specific activity as one’s main paid occupation. Related to this is “professionalism,” which is considered the quality of a person’s work as it applies to his vocation, e.g.; “You can depend on Jim, he is very professional in his job,” or; “Forget about Fred, he’s undependable, inconsistent; you know, very unprofessional.” I find it interesting the perspectives we have of ourselves as professionals. We all like to believe we are top-notch go-getters, but in reality is this really so? Young people desperately look for recognition from their managers as to the caliber of their work. Many genuinely believe they are highly professional in their work effort. The reality is they are far from it.

Some people believe their sense of professionalism is based on their taste in clothes and grooming, that if they project a certain image, people will develop a high opinion of them. Others believe it is a matter of being regarded as an authority on a specific subject. All of this is just facade. It’s not a matter of appearances or being an authority on a subject, but more a matter of your ability to deliver. It means you take your vocation seriously and are committed to success. From this perspective, it is more akin to “class” as applied to workmanship, such as inferior, average, good, and best. The professional thereby embraces best practices on a regular basis. Whereas some people do just enough to get by, the professional consistently produces superior results. Facade is simply not enough, it’s all about results. There is nothing more worthless than a person who knows how to do a job, but cannot deliver.

A true professional is considered resourceful, polished, knowledgeable, determined, and above all else, dependable to perform a task to a successful completion. You are the “go-to” person who produces superior results and, in the process, makes it look easy. Even if the task is difficult, you do not complain, you just make it happen. In other words, a true professional goes above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis.

Instilling a sense of professionalism in an organization is difficult and requires coaching and mentoring. It includes developing a sense of craftsmanship, where methodologies and techniques are taught to the point it is understood; the benefits of performing tasks the right way, and the risks and penalties associated with performing tasks the wrong way. Our sense of professionalism is an inherent part of the corporate culture. The ultimate goal is to develop an esprit de corps whereby the company as a whole possesses the notion of zero tolerance for defects and attaining goals on-time and within budget.

I wish it would be possible to certify professionalism, but you cannot, primarily because it is more of an attitude as opposed to a quantifiable technique. Projecting a professional image through fashion and vocabulary is nice and adds to your persona, but if you really want to be recognized as a professional, develop a reputation for delivering quality work products. Consider your approach to work; if you do just enough to get by, you are not there yet.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “OUR SENSE OF PROFESSIONALISM”

  1. Francis Dryden said

    I believe your definition of a professional is a common misusage of the word. When you look at those we refer to as professionals in general i.e. doctors, lawyers, teachers, premier athletes, etc. you will find they all have one thing in common that most others do not… They get paid regardless of outcome!

    Many Realtors, as an example, refer to themselves as professionals… if the property doesn’t sell, they don’t get paid… they are not professionals. However, the patient dies on the O.R. table… the doctor gets paid. The felon goes to prison for life… the lawyer gets paid. The child is illiterate when he quits school and the teachers were all paid.

    The closest most working people get to be in that category of being paid regardless of performance, is those that belong to unions. They can do a lousy job, dressed like a slob and keep their job and get paid… thankfully, most people have more drive and self-respect than that.

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    • Tim Bryce said

      Interesting take, but I believe you can be Professional regardless if you are paid or not, and regardless of your vocation. It is more of an attitude than anything else. Bottom-line, it is taking pride in one’s vocation and recognizing your professional and personal lives are one and the same.

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  2. Wayne Brown said

    In so many cases today, the attitude of professionalism has been superceded by the manager who gets ahead on short-term results–leaves the job before the chickens come home to roost. He is seen a person who can get the job done and gets promoted. Too often, no one sees what he leaves in his wake–good people who wanted to be professional but he demanded that they place their professionalism aside in the name of getting him promoted. In the end, they are left to deal with the mess he created and worse yet to get it cleaned up before the next idiot arrives in the short-term promotion cycle. Personnel managers have a duty to see that managers are more interested in creating a professional work environment that accomplishes thing rather than using people for their own self-interest. ~WB

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  3. […] Writing” “Engaging Your Workers” “Music in the Workplace” “Our Sense of Professionalism” “When Havoc Strikes” “The Perils of not Knowing Your Responsibilities” […]

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