Are you the kind of guy your officemates would call a real “professional,” and mean it?
I guess the answer is pretty obvious as asking a guy, “Are you hungry?” well beyond his meal time
We all want to be called professional at work for obvious reasons. We want to be the guy our officemates gravitate to for help, for advice, for plain conversation or just plain hanging out. We want our officemates to greet us “good morning,” with a special ring and a smile, be gifted a large bouquet on our birthday or other anniversaries. We want management to consult us for operational problems, give us special assignments, or the first on the list for promotion.
I am sure you are pricked with envy each time your office buddies refer to an associate as a real professional when he/she passes and wish, deep inside, that you, too, will earn the same respect and admiration.
But you can. Being a professional is not a birth-right but bestowed upon those who deserve to be called one. While there is something magical in being called “professional,” there is nothing magical about becoming one. A superb mansion didn’t come into being on its own but by slowly building it up from a bucket of concrete.
You can become one if you desire it so. Paulo Coelho said:
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize them.”
It does not require a genius to become a professional. No science, no math, no complicated calculations are needed. All you have to do is to sincerely take inventory of yourself and benchmark with the “professionals.”
So let’s start by asking yourself these questions and see how you measure up:
1. What is my level of competence?
That you still have your job means you are competent enough..
But professionals are just not satisfactorily competent. Floyd Mayweather is a competent boxer. But he’s got to be well beyond that to earn the title “pound for pound king of boxing,” and Tiger Woods could not have won four Maters Tournaments if he is just competent.
A professional stands 10 feet taller in competence than the rest of the pack.
2. Am I reliable?
When a professional gives his/her word or makes a commitment, it is as good as done. They can be relied upon to accomplish any assigned task, or submit accurate reports on time.
Are you in that league now?
3. Do I listen to others?
Not just pretend to listen but really listen, understand what others are talking about, and provide feedback where necessary.
People are naturally hard of listening and will only do so to find an opening to butt in. To listen is to show respect of others.
4. Do I talk of people behind their backs?
This is the most common pastime of people who have nothing else better to do in the office. Not just plain gossip, but of things that can potentially harm the character and career of others.
I had two associates in my former job who were forced to retire because of the incessant sniping by envious subordinates.
Professionals don’t engage in gutter language, or destroy other people to achieve their lofty ambitions. They are always upfront.
5. Do I have a positive attitude?
Do you know why professionals attract people? Because they are optimists. Nobody likes to be around people who are gloomy in their outlook.
I am sure you are turned off, too, of people who could never see the positive side of things; people who always have something negative to say of anything that goes on around them.
6. Am I focused in my job?
Do you snap at people because you had a row with your wife, or your children are not doing well in school?
Don’t let your personal problems get in the way of doing your job well. Put everything in its proper perspective. Nobody likes to deal with people who are moody and easily thrown off balance by things that have nothing to do with work.
7. Do I have integrity?
Integrity is the set of personal characteristics that justify trustworthiness and generate trust among the people you work with.
Integrity has four facets, e.g., accountability, competence, ethics and incorruptibility.
In all my years of working, I have had the sad experience of working with very competent people but could not be trusted in discharging the responsibilities entrusted to them
8. Am I supportive of others?
Professionals never fear threatened by competition because they know they can hold their own in any situation. Thus, they are very supportive of others’ aspirations. They are very helpful and supportive.
They are always willing to let go of an excellent-performing subordinates so they can carve their own destinies as well.
9. Am I enthusiastic?
Professionals are infectious in their enthusiasm. That is where they derive their charisma, their power to move and motivate people around them
10. Do I seek knowledge?
People considered professionals are never static in their skills and knowledge. They frequently update themselves in the latest developments, not only in their field of work, but in other areas as well.
This allows them to engage in conversations covering different areas of interests in life.
Honest self-assessment is probably one of the most difficult things to do, simply because of ego or our own biases about things. It may also entail making changes in the way we think and do things. And change is always a traumatic experience.
Oftentimes, however, we are pressed into doing it to find happiness and career satisfaction. The above is a good starting point. They may be difficult at first, but not impossible. With constant practice, they become a part of you. When that happens, you become what you have always wanted to be.