The ultimate goal of every employee is to be considered an asset to the team, get promoted, gain respect from your co-workers and have a successful career. For which, professionalism is the key.
After all, it is not something that can be taught. A person is supposed to grasp it up by himself through osmosis and observation, which can be tricky at times. It is about focusing on your performance and reaping the benefits of your hard work.
Make professionalism a habit and watch it open doors for other career opportunities for you. Here’s how you can adopt professionalism at your workplace:
1. Look Presentable and Well Groomed
Your appearance speaks about you before you could. Of course, people would judge you by your appearance. Make sure to look neat, fresh and well-dressed at work. Dress up appropriately following the dress code of your workplace. Some workplaces have an easy going business casual apparel while others require the formal dress code. So follow the code and dress up accordingly. A professional appearance would not only make your colleagues respect you, but will also make you feel fresh and energetic.
2. Follow the Cultural Norms at Your Workplace
Look around and observe the practices other people are offering. That is how you go about important stuff on “that’s how it’s done here”. Such trends might include arriving a few minutes early for the meetings, turning off your cellphone or keeping it on the silent mode to refrain from disturbing others, interacting with the clients, etc. Perceive what is considered professional from your environment so that people don’t find you an odd-one-out.
3. Get Done With the Work
Being passionate about your job is vital. Old-age advice about “do what you love” i.e. choosing a career that interests you has been going wrong as people are seen to get tired, exhausted and frustrated at work. Why not flip the words and be it “Love what you do”? This might solve half of the problems in the world. It’s not about loving your workplace, because you don’t know when your workplace might stop loving you. It’s about enjoying your work rather than thinking of it as a burden over your shoulders. So, the key to being prolific is staying focused at work. A to-do list can be a good idea to organize your work and manage time according to the tasks. Because nothing describes professionalism more than accomplishment, especially constant achievements.
4. Be Punctual
Try to always show up before the reporting time. Be it casual meetings, important panel discussions, client meet up, or arriving at your workplace, always reach on time. Also, do not call in sick unnecessarily because you slept late last night since you were watching your favorite series.
5. Communicate Professionally
You should sound clear and confident while facing people. Listen actively during meetings and when it’s your turn, speak on point and in such a way that everyone understands. Make use of good vocabulary and well-structured sentences, especially while presenting in front of a bigger audience. Make sure you prepare well to build up what it takes to be a great presenter.
6. Be Good to People
Build better relations with the faces you have to see daily at your workplace – regardless of whether you like them or not. It would be highly professional not to let them get under your skin and go easy. Greet them when you arrive, an eye contact with the ends of your lips turning up to a smile is a humble way to say hello. Help them when they need you. This will help you gain professional reputation. And after all, what goes around, comes around. Avoid being harsh to someone you don’t like and especially gossiping behind their back. I can’t stress enough over this. Simply, remain cordial because pleasant is the new sexy.
7. Learn From Your Mistakes
Being professional is not about being a perfectionist. It’s about working on your flaws and turning them into your strength. The best way to know your mistakes is to take feedback. Most of us, due to our ego problem, take feedback personally and start being defensive. This is highly unprofessional. If you want to do better, don’t you want to know where do you need to pay the most attention? The feedback from your mentor or manager should always help you perform better.
Summing it all, you can not turn into a professional overnight. It requires constant learning and hard work over time with attaining control over yourself. Professionalism opens up new challenges and brings opportunities that are knocking at your door every day so that you can grow and achieve job satisfaction. It is a skill you can acquire to become a better employee than you were before.
After all, nothing is constant, but the change (for the better).