I am convinced that in my city of Bengaluru, the word most used in corporate circles could well be “professional”. Hundreds of people have told me in their introductions: “I am a software professional”, “I am a HR professional”, “I am a R & D professional” etc.

What does professionalism mean to you? A glance at Merriam Webster Online tells you that professionalism is defined as : the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.

That’s fine, but what are these conduct and qualities?

To me, the following 7 facets embody professionalism:

  1. Standing by your commitments: Knowing what you say generates expectations and being capable of living up to them. With colleagues, with customers, with team members apart from bosses of course.
  2. Being trustworthy: Knowing what to talk about and what not to. Understanding the sensitivity of information that passes through you. Not misusing the information that you have access to by virtue of your job position.
  3. Role Modelling: Demonstrating the finest conduct yourself so as to set an example to those who you have the privilege of leading and doing business with.
  4. Integrity: Demonstrating the highest standards of integrity in all that you do. Conveying the principles you stand for through your own standards of conduct.
  5. Being Exacting: Setting high standards in job performance and expecting the same of others. Not compromising on quality to attain short term gains. Making excellence a way of life . To do the best in all that you do.
  6. Relating to Others: Being conscious of the innate capabilities of others and getting them to take responsibility for their outputs. Helping others develop as professionals through active involvement in their growth and development.
  7. Valuing Others: Valuing their time, their money, their efforts. True professionalism does not take the above for granted. We recognize that just as our time, money and efforts means a lot to us – so does that of others we deal with.

David Maister defined professionalism as: “believing passionately in what you do, never compromising your standards and values, and caring about your clients, your people, and your own career.”

What does professionalism mean to you?

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This is the 115 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success