The Nature of
Workplace professionalism at your
The Leader is always on Stage
A leader must remember that he is on stage every day. His people
are watching him. Everything he says, and the way he says it,
sends off clues to his employees. These clues affect performance.
The leader is always on stage.
– Marcus Buckingham: First, Break All the Rules
The workforce is now primarily composed of
technical and professional occupations.
Jobs by Skill Level
90% 16% 19%
Percent of Workforce
1950 1994 2004
Unskilled Technical Professional
Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor and Industry
Most Important Skills Cited by
• Professionalism/Work Ethic
Ranked by percent rating as “very important”
(The Conference Board, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and
The Society for Human Resource Management, 2006; as provided by Development Dimensions International)
The Report Card: Employers report on the
(Conference Board et al. provided by Development Dimensions International, Inc.)
Why care about professionalism?
Drives Value in the College with peers,
employees and students
Increases productivity and engagement
Grievances often center around
Employee- builds confidence and moral
Increases your net worth
Employer-Prevents burnout and promotes
Roberts , L (October, 2005)"Changing Faces: Professional Image Construction in Diverse Organizational Settings," Academy of
Management Review retrieved from 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College ,HBS Working Knowledge
What is expected from a Practicing Professional on
Where do I start?
What is professionalism?
What is professionalism?
Webster’s Dictionary-exhibiting a
courteous, conscientious, and generally
businesslike manner in the workplace
Social Dictionary-the degree to which an
individual possess and uses the
knowledge, skills, and qualifications of the
profession and adheres to its values and
ethics when serving the client
Your professional image is the set of qualities
and characteristics that represent perceptions of
your competence and character as judged by
your key constituents (i.e., clients, superiors,
As HBS professor Laura Morgan Roberts sees it,
if you aren't managing your own professional
image, others are.
◦ "People are constantly observing your behavior and forming theories
about your competence, character, and commitment, which are rapidly
disseminated throughout your workplace," she says. "It is only wise to
add your voice in framing others' theories about who you are and what
you can accomplish."
Roberts , L (October, 2005)"Changing Faces: Professional Image Construction in Diverse Organizational Settings,"
Academy of Management Review retrieved from 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College ,HBS Working
What is professionalism?
A set of internalized character
strengths and values directed toward
high quality service to others through
According to American Association of
Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine:
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Characteristics of Professionalism June 2007
Five Keys to Being a True
Character -Aspects of a professional’s character include integrity,
honesty, truthfulness, forthrightness, trustworthiness, being
responsible, being diligent, doing what is right, and projecting a
Attitude -Having a professional attitude means, adopting a
service mentality, seeking responsibility, having determination,
and being a team player.
Excellence- To excel as a professional you must press for
excellence, strive for continual improvement, be attentive, and
Competency- Professional competency in your field is a
combination of expertise, performance, personal effectiveness,
and being a good communicator.
Conduct- Professionals conduct themselves with maturity,
manners, loyalty, respect for authority, confidences,
confidentiality, and a touch of class.
Ball, J ( May 2001) Professionalism is for Everyone: Five Keys to Being a True
Professional, Goals Institute, Incorporated, The
Credible image /Appearance
Appearance is an important part of portraying a
What you wear says something about who you
are as an employee
To make a good positive impression be well
groomed at all times.
Dress accordingly for all important meetings.
Dress casually when appropriate- Consider your
It’s OK to be relaxed but not OK to be
Remember the details
Seek out responsibility
Exhibit a never-ending quest to improve our
performance in every variable, every project, every
transaction, every relationship
The only one who controls your attitude is yourself.
Response +Environment=Outcomes (if you do not
like the outcomes, either change your response or the
Boys, there ain't no free lunches in this country. And
don't go spending your whole life commiserating that
you got the raw deals. You've got to say, I think that
if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can
have it. Lee Iacocca:
Align your strengths and acquire the skills
necessary- practice continuous improvement
Act with clarity, direction, focus, and
Improve your skills in time management, goal
setting and communication.
Ask the right questions at the right time –
“discover” your own answers
Exercise Self Control and Self Discipline
Using data to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to
draw sound conclusions.
Well informed and perceptive; shrewd with practical
Build the department by design- build a plan and work the plan
Act in the manner and care that an ordinarily prudent person in a
like position would exercise under similar circumstances.
◦ Act as a conservator of assets in a reasonable fashion with
Act in a manner the Board would reasonably believe to be in the
best interests of the College.
◦ Acting beyond personal interests, for the good of the College
and the good of the employees
Be conscious that your work reflects your
Strive for excellence
Do not view it as just “a job”
Be task-oriented and service-oriented
In regards to employee’s and co-workers
◦ Treat others with respect
◦ Be courteous and considerate of others’
◦ Respect others’ political and religious beliefs
According to the Free Dictionary
“unprofessionalism is defined as not
conforming to the standards of a
profession or unprofessional behavior”
Root Cause of Unprofessional
Where unprofessional behavior exists, it rarely is because of
demographic or economic drivers. More commonly,
unprofessional behavior exists when leaders allow it to
exist by failing to proactively establish and clarify codes of
conduct and principles of professional excellence and then
communicate and enforce those standards.
◦ In other words, we unknowingly do it to ourselves
Ball,J 3 Steps for Inspiring Professionalism in Your Organization
What examples have you observed on un-
In my organization/ company?
In my Department?
What role do I have to play on
Tools to Support Professionalism
◦ Crossing boundaries
◦ How is professionalism judged?
◦ Avoiding professionalism pitfalls
Respect for others and their rights
Know your boundaries/limits
Stay out of others affairs
Do not handle personal interest at “work”
Keep inappropriate language out of
No sexual harassment
Regulate personal cell phone usage
Exploitation – money, gifts, people, power
Breaches of confidentiality
Work- life Balance
Manage your time
Track how you use your time
Plan your days
Embrace small necessary interruptions
Take a break when you become frustrated
Leave personal unexpressed feelings at
the door prior to entering the workplace
Determine your values
Pay attention to how you communicate
Rational Detachment …..
Rational detachment is the ability to stay in
control of one’s own behavior and not take
acting-out behavior personally.
◦ Know yourself
◦ What pushes your buttons? Don’t let someone find out
◦ Recognize your limits
◦ What is your tolerance level?
◦ Anticipate and have a plan
◦ Positive outlets and coping skills
◦ Our response can either escalate or de-escalate the
How professionalism is judged
Against a set of expectations or standards
From our own personal values set and
understanding of what “professionalism”
May be situational in nature
Strongly influenced by culture
Over self-disclosure-discussing personal problems
Super-Manager, Super-Tech, Super-Worker, Super-__
Special treatment to an employee-bending the rules
“You and Me against the World”
Discussing employer/employee issues (salary, staff errors, etc.)
“The conduct or procedure required to be
observed in social or official life.”
Do not take comments or insults personally
Patience really is a virtue
Remember the “Golden Rule”
Ease their pain
◦ Subject line should be short and
◦ Avoid jargon and abbreviations - lol, :)
◦ Use short paragraphs
◦ Read for content and grammar before
◦ Be consistent with format
◦ Think before you hit “send”
Speak with a normal, pleasant, courteous
Leave brief, clear messages
Return phone calls promptly
No personal calls
SHOW UP ON TIME (Be Punctual)
◦ Leave enough time for traffic
◦ Arrive early
◦ Call immediately if you cannot make-it
Make efficient use of resources and time
◦ Ask questions
◦ Take notes
Meet all deadlines
Mandatory: sign and return to
Human Resources- Professional
Professionalism Workshop Contract
I ____________________________ clearly
understand the terms and conditions of the
Professionalism Workshop and will act
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Etiquette by Mary
Mitchell with John Corr, 2000 Alpha Books
Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business
with Charm and Savvy by Ann Marie Sabath Career
Press 2002, Franklin Lakes NJ