Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Importance of Professionalism

The Importance of Professionalism

In an ideal world, every employee in the workplace would do his job, and the best performers would be rewarded with salary raises and promotions. But the world is not ideal. There are backbiters, gripers, gossipers, and other cancers that resort to devious means to get ahead. Even those who have worked contractual and part time jobs in Singapore will attest to the harsh reality of office politics.

In truth, the ones who really succeed are the ones who practice the highest levels of professionalism. Lies and other deceptions can only get you so far. Be a model employee and you will be rewarded accordingly.

The fundamentals of professionalism are obvious. Be punctual, dress appropriately, leave your bad mood at home, don’t use foul language, do your work well. But dedicating yourself to the highest standards of professionalism involves more than just the basics, and it entails a little more effort on your part. It means being emotionally, mentally, and psychologically mature.

Don’t take professional matters personally. It’s normal for tempers to go out of control every now and then in the workplace. A coworker may raise his voice at you. Your boss may scold you. It could reach that point where you’ll want to walk out and do a job search for a better employer. Calm down. Your best response would be to remain cool and collected amidst the rising tensions. You have to keep such moments in perspective. As long as no personal insults were hurled, you just have to go right back to work and put the incident behind you. Give sufficient time for things to cool down, then the next time you see the person who raised his voice at you, say hello as if nothing happened.

Don’t get caught up in office gossip. When you’re in a group during lunch break or coffee break, and you hear them badmouthing a coworker, it’s best for you not to take part in the conversation. This may be difficult if you in fact agree with them about the person involved. You may find that person difficult, obnoxious, arrogant, or self-centered. But you have to resist the urge to join in the “bashing session.” Just remain quiet. If possible, change the topic. Eventually, people will notice that you’re not the gossiping type, and this will earn you a good deal of respect.

Be critical of things, not people. It’s good to approach your work with a critical mind. Managers usually like having people who offer suggestions on how to improve systems, workflow, and processes. Doing so, however, necessarily means pointing out a weakness or defect that needs to be corrected. Keep your criticisms on the professional level. Don’t bring in personalities. Instead of saying, “The personnel manager doesn’t seem to know what sort of seminars we need,” say instead, “I’d like to make suggestions on what kind of seminars will benefit our team.”

Bring you complaints to the proper forum. In the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” there’s a scene where Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks’ character) tells his squadron of privates, “There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, and so on. I don't gripe to you. I don't gripe in front of you.” Keep this in mind when you have a complaint at the workplace. Bring this to your superior, not your subordinates or peers. Complaining to someone who can’t do anything to help you is a waste of time and energy.

Stay positive. Negativity is a known productivity killer. A negative attitude affects not only your work, but also those around you. No matter how difficult the circumstances, you have to stay positive. Don’t dwell on problems. Always make an effort to see the good in every situation.For more about maintaining a positive attitude click here.

Bear in mind that practicing professionalism requires constant effort. It can be tiring, taxing, and even frustrating. It entails summoning your best diplomacy, communication, coordination, and even project management skills. But the end-result is well worth it. You sharpen your self-control, you become more productive, and you earn the respect of both your peers and your supervisor.