No announcement yet.

Professionalism: What It Is

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Professionalism: What It Is

    I was updating my Linkedin profile a couple of days ago. I stumbled upon an article ( that I reacted to, years ago. The content still holds true though.

    Suddenly, I remembered why I read this article. There was an incident at work that made me question my colleague's professionalism. But mostly, I questioned her integrity. It made me want to quit work (that was why I was looking at my Linkedin account years ago) just so I do not have to deal with her.

    I thought I was just overreacting to the situation. So I looked up how can I be professional when working with her when I lost respect for her?

    In the article, the key points of professionalism are:

    1. Specialized knowledge
    2. Competency
    3. Honesty and integrity
    4. Respect
    5. Accountability
    6. Self-regulation
    7. Image

    I can no longer expect professionalism from her. But I expect professionalism from myself...even when it was really a challenge to do.

    The way I will handle the situation is a reflection of me, my character. Not hers. And I want to have a good reflection.

  • #2
    One thing that stands out for me about professionalism is how one treats people who they think are below them. It's easy to be respectful, polite and nice to someone who is your superior or who you see as your equal however, it's something else if you show the same respect for someone who you think is below you. I've seen how other people look down on other professions simply because they think they are too good for that kind of job.

    I always remind myself that we are not stuck in the state we are in. We may be on top of others now but that may change in a few years so it's best to be professional and treat everyone with the same respect as you treat your supervisors.


    • JerryYan
      JerryYan commented
      Editing a comment
      People behave differently. And we all 'react' to these behaviors differently too.

      That said, professionalism is clearly being responsible for my personal 'actions' and NOT be swayed by just 'reactions' to the behaviors of these equally flawed personalities.

      Bringing that restraint and clear-headedness to work benefits yourself -not necessarily those around you.

    • Skye
      Skye commented
      Editing a comment
      jcoppi29, that is interesting the "professionals" and the "victims." Now I have to think if they really who they appear to be... and I have to check on myself as well. What am I, really?

      Bjun, your last paragraph reminds me of the wheel of fortune... and karma. What goes around, comes around. So it is best to do good than bad so that good comes back to you. I don't wanna be a cockroach in the next life.

    • Bjun
      Bjun commented
      Editing a comment
      Indelible_Mark I disagree. Yes, it's good to push some people out of their comfort zones and challenge them but there is a way to do it right. You cannot hide behind the title of being "professional" if you are being rude. Also, it goes both ways - if the person who feels they are being looked down should evaluate why they feel that way, then the person who's called out on lacking professionalism should also consider why people call him-/herself that. Maybe they just have such high regards of themselves that they think they are better than others.

      I think jcoppi29 nailed it.

  • #3
    Professionalism for me equals a degree of emotional intelligence. Its having the discipline to always show up to your duties and responsibilities. Its when you honor your commitment and respect the company's time and resources, and of course the people you are working with. I also agree with Bjun. Professionalism is when you show the same respect to everyone regardless of their rank, race and social standing. It goes more than just suits and good hygiene; but building good relationships and the never ending learning and improving yourself. Its maintaining good character and choosing the high road when dealing with difficulties at work.

    Its not easy to be professional at all times, especially when difficulties and high levels of pressure arise. But its a trait that we should all develop as this can be a factor for our professional success.


    • #4
      What struck me in the key points of professionalism enumerated by Skye were honesty and integrity, accountability, and respect. I always expect these key points from my workmates, more so from someone in a higher position. Honesty for me is important because your integrity lies in it and people will respect you if you are honest and do not cover-up your mistakes. Now comes accountability. How can you expect a liar to be accountable for her/his mistakes?

      I do agree that passive leaders take offense on members who stand their ground and fight for what they believe in. True, they find this behavior aggressive and even take it up upon the member. With people like this, I agree with Skye, I do not expect an ounce of professionalism from them. However, I do expect myself to be professional enough even though I've lost my respect for them. ✌✌✌


      • jcoppi29
        jcoppi29 commented
        Editing a comment
        Generally, liars are actually liars if they're backed into a corner and then they begin displaying a plethora of defense mechanisms or other usually observed trips like appeal on sympathy, guilt tripping or even power tripping. In my books, if they don't show those, I generally think they're just non-confrontational or don't find the need to defend themselves -- meaning, probably not a lie then. If one knows their truth, and gets accused of being a liar, it doesn't make sense to treat the situation as if the accusers are right for example.

        As a partially passive leaning leader-ish in some other groups myself, I'm just in the -ish because it is conditional. I can be active if there's a point to being so, but I have criteria for being passive and apathetic. These are:
        1. ad hominem - discrediting arguer as if it beats the argument
        2. strawmanning - mispresenting or misinterpreting one's point to make it refutable
        3. false dichotomy tones - "if you're not with thus, you're against us". The idea that if you're not X, then you're against X.
        4. any incitement that makes a small issue everyone's business, social dynamics, identity politics-ish patterns.

        Whenever I see any of the 4 or notice its hints, if I'm a leader or just a member, I drop being active and just go passive. Most times I engaged people with such patterns, it just becomes an unproductive exchange of opinions, misunderstandings, guilt trips, sympathy appeals, passive-aggressive blows, sarcasm that can last hours -- to no effect whatsoever. It just feels like spending 6-8, sometimes 12 hours trying to talk to someone that doesn't have an intention to discuss, but only wants to be validated and to feel right regardless of betterment or not.

        I guess it is entirely natural and average of human beings to resort to just mind games and to really do anything just so they can feel they're right, it is part of the ape brain we've all inherited anyway. In truth, finally accepting this truth, I've saved more energy for myself and use it on things I love to do instead of meaningless sugarcoated highschool-level engagements that waste another day of opportunity.

      • Lou
        Lou commented
        Editing a comment
        jcoppi29, you mentioned that you "guess it is entirely natural and average of human beings to resort to just mind games and to really do anything just so they can feel they're right". My question is: when you engage in a discussion (if ever you decide to), do you think you are also guilty of resorting to mind games just so you feel that you are right? Is it also possible that you already have this misconception that this discussion is a highschool-level, meaningless, sugarcoated engagement?

        I am not in any way a master of human behavior or anything. However, based on my experience, I have observed that there are people who are very accepting of their mistakes and yet, there are those who just wouldn't let go to the point that they push you to your end. But, when you strike back, they call you sarcastic, unreasonable, or whatnot? Can this behavior also be considered as discrediting the arguer (ad hominem) just to beat the argument? And is it also possible that there are people who label the person they are discussing with when in fact, the labels also apply to them?

        In the end, you are right, why waste your time explaining something to someone who just wouldn't listen, right? It's better to engage yourself in other useful things that will not stress you out.

      • jcoppi29
        jcoppi29 commented
        Editing a comment

        For your question: "My question is: when you engage in a discussion (if ever you decide to), do you think you are also guilty of resorting to mind games just so you feel that you are right? Is it also possible that you already have this misconception that this discussion is a highschool-level, meaningless, sugarcoated engagement?"

        I'll admit that I once resorted to mind games, or logical loopholes or fallacious presentations at a younger age, like most people do, though, it would depend because some people age with those habits still. I used to do this often because I was quite low on self-esteem, or I wanted to get back at my crappy excuse of a childhood, or because I feared being wrong -- not knowing it's a precursor for growth. It's in the past now and because I know my innate developmental tendency to do this, I've since applied mechanisms to make sure I don't tread that said path again, as much as possible. Self-awareness is luckily something I learned.

        It is possible that I may have misconceived or misinterpreted particular discussions, then again, I'd say that possibility is a bit slim. I've given the benefit of the doubt for many many many discussions throughout the years that I've noticed trends in behavior, attitude, tone, and how those stitch up an image that predicts a fruitful discussion from what is not. It's because I've given the benefit of the doubt so much that I've tailored a filter that defines highschool, meaningless, sugarcoated engagements from what are not. I can even go as far as talking styles, tones, and other usual fallacies so I only stated my top four above.

        As for the scenario you mentioned, in a way, it can be an ad hominem if its intention is to discredit, not so much if its intention is to point something out. In the first place, sarcasm in any discourse requires a backdrop of rapport to ever be an additive spice to a discussion that revolves around different poles.

        It's highly possible that people label others with traits they actually don't like about themselves. It's the "It takes one to know one" phrase. However, an addition to that, or a step further from that, would be, which of the two people is willing to admit that they don't like the traits they're pointing out because they're also guilty of it. In such cases, most times, the people that admit they hate that something in themselves and project it unto others deal with that pathological pattern more than those that just rationalize and deny they have such traits -- and thus, continuing on a pattern of just projecting.

        People generally don't work on flaws their egos want to defend. Without that ingredient, it's just who's going to rationalize better without facing those internal issues.

    • #5
      I have a colleague who works well with others, communicates with respect, completes tasks efficiently but does not come to work on time. Or, I know someone who is so productive at work and is well respected, but can't take accountability for her errors. There is also this individual who can take ownership, honest and very respectful of others; problem is, she is always behind her targets and seems to be making mistakes all the time

      Are they all unprofessional then?

      To me, professionalism is a behavior. It is so multi-faceted though, i don't think it would be right to define a person as unprofessional. We can say that at there was an instance that our colleague displayed a behavior that lacked professionalism, but the person is not, as a whole, unprofessional.

      So when you say Skye that you cannot expect professionalism from the person, I think that is being a bit self-righteous. Let's be honest with ourselves. In fact, I don't think anyone in this forum has displayed absolute professionalism for the past week. ... Just saying
      Last edited by kdy; 08-18-2020, 06:22 PM.


      • kdy
        kdy commented
        Editing a comment
        " If you are to judge yourself in absolute terms, I wish you luck in everything."
        -You are right, this may be impossible and I will really need luck. but I think it is with that very same statement that we realize that I will never be in the position to judge another's professional ethics. What makes me or you for that matter, an authority to judge other people's professional ethics. We have guidelines... we have definitions... we have descriptions.. but do we have measurements?

        I agree with the guidelines and I agree with you expecting professionalism from yourself. I really think that the guidelines are there for us to have a guide so we can conduct ourselves in a professional manner.

        "When I say I cannot expect professionalism from that person, I really can't. Why? Because her character lacking in integrity, as it is now, seeps through a majority of the key points mentioned......Just because I said that I will expect professionalism from myself and not from that person?
        -Is this because your colleague is not capable of professionalism, and that you are? Whether that is self righteous, or not - I suggest that we both reflect on it.

        Sharing this article
        Last edited by kdy; 08-19-2020, 01:40 PM.

      • Skye
        Skye commented
        Editing a comment
        I give credit where credit is due. I truly appreciate your comments, kdy. It is nice to have someone to disagree with yet maintain their composure. A person who can understand that you can have differing opinions and yet, answer in a cool, calm manner. It would be a pleasure to work with you.

        Read the article. Say we go by the article that you mentioned. Let me not pass judgment on my colleague as this is being called a "tool for bullying." So to answer your question, yes, I am a professional, for the most part but still striving to be in that range all my work life. Why? Item 6. In Most Cases You Set the Standard — And You KNOW.

        "So build your standard as a professional. And hold yourself to it. And know whether you’re making it to that level of professionalism or not. The person slinging the word unprofessional doesn’t have the right, or authority, to tell you that you are not a professional."

        I know that this does go back to me, the proverbial four fingers pointing back to one's self for calling my colleague unprofessional. Still, I have built a standard and I hold myself accountable to that. That's why I expect myself to be professional.

        Let me ask you then, what do you call a colleague who KNOWS what is right but repeatedly does not follow rules, does not take responsibility for work or mistakes, takes credit for other's good work and/or does not respect subordinates? So I guess we cannot call that person unprofessional then? Or should we not judge or label them or their behavior?

      • kdy
        kdy commented
        Editing a comment
        I appreciate the healthy back and forth too .

        I am not sure if we have the same experience on performance appraisals, but in my experience, performance appraisals are broken down into the different key performance metrics and different core competencies and values. I think that it is designed that way because all these sums up to what entails to be a professional. I have seen a lot of appraisals that are rated "needs improvement" in one, or two or more core competencies, but overall still got a "meet expectations" rating. I have not seen one ace all core competencies either.

        I know I am being technical here. but technicalities aside, have you ever wondered why performance appraisals do not measure professionalism as a whole?

        Thus, I would not be too rash in calling the "person" unprofessional.

    • #6
      As long as Respect Begets Respect is observed then I think there will never be any friction or problems.


      • Lou
        Lou commented
        Editing a comment
        I totally agree with this

    • #7
      Click image for larger version

Name:	1217.png
Views:	70
Size:	39.0 KB
ID:	1625
      Here is how Webster's dictionary defined professionalism. Its larger than just a specific job title, but rather a conduct and character that is expected of someone on an ethical standard. I agree with kdy that it is multi-faceted. We may have those moments that we slip and act otherwise especially when others disappoint us, but having a commitment for a continuous personal development is what's important.
      Last edited by Kamille; 12-17-2020, 10:59 AM.


      • Skye
        Skye commented
        Editing a comment
        Just thinking out loud. So if a person has the skill and good judgment to do a job well, but does not exhibit polite behavior, then that person is not professional? Good judgment and skills are easily measurable. But polite behavior is not. What may be acceptable and polite in one culture may be considered rude in another.

      • jcoppi29
        jcoppi29 commented
        Editing a comment
        Agreed, Skye.

        Politeness requires a cross-cultural means to measure, not to mention, the many variations that include introversion and extraversion factors that further complicate things. I think a more simplified umbrella of included factors would be around just being plain considerate and respectful of one's humanity.

        It is generally observed that human beings have an issue with invalidating other's human dignity for the sake of personal interest such as power mechanics, personal differences, etc. The less they're aware of this, the more hostile, impolite or generally aggressive they position themselves around others.

        Typically, evolution made humans tribalistic and keen in noticing differences more than similarities -- i mean, it's observable in all conflicts how dehumanization is rampant in opposing parties.