You know that it's essential to be professional if you want to be a success. For some, being professional might mean dressing smartly at work, or doing a good job. For others, being professional means having advanced degrees or other certifications, framed and hung on the office wall. Professionalism encompasses all of these definitions. But, it also covers much more.
The Webster defines professionalism as the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person; and it defines a profession as a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation. These definitions imply that professionalism encompasses a number of different attributes, and, together, these attributes identify and define a professional. Professionalism is a trait that's highly valued in the workforce. It has many attributes, including specialized knowledge, competency, integrity, accountability and self-regulation. To improve your own professionalism, focus on improving in each of these areas.
You can also exude professionalism by being kind and polite to everyone, presenting a professional image in your attitude and dress, and showing up for work or meetings fully prepared. True professionals are always prepared. This requires advance planning, timeliness, and attention. Focus on improving your time management and planning skills, so that you're always in control.
Although professionalism means keeping commitments, doing high quality work, and having expert status, occasionally the pursuit of these attributes might tempt you not to volunteer for projects that fall outside your comfort zone. You will need to look at each situation to make that decision. Lastly, always analyze risks beforehand to minimize the consequences of getting things wrong, be honest about any skills gaps that you have, and work to fill them. Then do the best you possibly can.