Some people think professionalism is a very obscure subject. What does it mean, why is it relevant, how can it help my career?
By far the best way to understand its value and meaning is to take a look at how people behave in a variety of circumstances, both at work and in their personal lives, and to reflect on whether their behaviours lead us to make some assumptions about them. Are they people you would trust, would they be likely to complete work on time, would they consider others' feelings in a difficult situation?
Consider the following real-life scenario;
Two colleagues decide to take their lunch break together after working together all morning. Following a swift discussion about the dismal weather they decide to go to the local coffee shop as it is quite close by. One guy buys a filled baguette but no drink while the other has coffee and a sandwich. They sit facing each other at a table with four seats. Baguette guy wolfs his lunch down in a very few bites while the other guy takes his time with his sandwich and leisurely waits for his coffee to cool down. Not a word has been exchanged. As soon as he has finished eating, baguette guy gets out his iPhone and proceeds to work on his messages without looking up or interrupting himself or acknowledging the other guy's presence in any way. 15 minutes go by. Coffee guy is now looking around and indulging in a spot of people watching as if sitting at the table on his own. When he finishes his lunch he also gets out his phone, glances at it briefly and puts it away. They leave together, discussing work issues.
What do you make of this scene? If they were colleagues of yours or you were their boss then what conclusions might you draw about the behaviour of each and what, if anything, might you be tempted to do as a result of what you have seen?
Case studies and stories from real-life give us some eye-opening information to work with as a means to unpack the huge variety of characteristics and attitudes which combine in each and every one of us. Are you displaying as many professionalism characteristics as you think you are?
Would your organisation benefit from discussing these important areas together?
Give me a call if you want to talk about your conclusions from the scenario above or any other professionalism issue, I'd love to hear from you.