Professionalism/Work Ethic is defined as demonstrating personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, time workload management, and understanding the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind and is able to learn from their mistakes (National Association of Colleges and Employers, USA).
Good, it’s getting clearer. So, why is this important? This is because it is a competency that should also lead to this skill becoming a lifestyle.
Have you noticed that influential and successful individuals often exhibit exemplary professionalism with an inspirational work ethic? So it is a skill so essential to success.
How do we practice being professional and showing our work ethic? Whenever opportunity strikes, attempt to showcase your professionalism and explore your work ethic. Characteristics such as reliability, dedication, discipline, productivity, cooperation, integrity, and responsibility should describe us.
It is essential to be professional whenever you can, but professionalism and work ethic are established early, often as part of a first impression. Peter Schutz (former President and CEO of Porsche) shared simply: “Hire character. Train skill.” Deep words.
Let me share some quick tips to improve your work ethic—both now and for the future (if you are yet to be employed):
- Act as an ambassador of whatever entity you work for. This helps you maintain a positive attitude towards the company in both professional and personal interactions. You see things as “ours,” not “theirs.”
- Prioritize your professional responsibilities—arriving early at meetings, returning promptly from lunch, not using official hours to browse the web for non-work-related activities, not engaging in personal business (side hustle) during work hours. Did I sense someone rolling their eyes?!.
- Seek professional development—don’t always wait for the company to send you on training before engaging in personal development. Take night classes if you have to, attend weekend seminars and read industry-related publications. You owe yourself this duty.
- Review your work—always strive to turn over jobs that have been thoroughly reviewed and double-checked for quality and consistency. Be known for this.
- Show respect to others—be approachable, teachable, speak politely to and about others in the workplace.
If you practice these and make them a lifelong habit, you will always be the star wherever you find yourself.
You can take it to the bank.