Do you consider yourself a regular employee or professional? Have you ever considered the differences between the two? The term "professional" has been bantered about quite a bit in the workplace. Itís important to take a moment and consider the defining factors of what makes someone take the leap from being a regular employee to being a professional.
1. Specialized knowledge based on extensive preparation. Being a professional does not happen overnight. It requires many hours of study and preparation. Professionals are expected to maintain a high knowledge level and expertise. Organizations compensate professionals for their knowledge.
2. Participates in ongoing training and development. A professional firmly believes in staying current in their field. This means that a professional is committed to continued training and development.
3. Accepts responsibility. Professionals seek and accept responsibility. They can be trusted and given high levels of responsibility within the organization. A professional is handed tasks at such a high level, that poor performance can reflect poorly on the entire organization not just the individual.
4. Have a sense of ownership of their work. Professionals feel a sense of ownership and pride in everything they do. Professionals work, not to just meet organization standards, but most importantly meet the standards of their own pride in their work. Professionals work for the organization as if they were working in their own business.
5. Maintain a collective networking spirit outside of the organization. Professionals understand that their work is not limited to their organization. They understand the importance of professional relationships outside of work with others in the same field.
6. Maintains high standards of ethics and integrity. Professionals are driven by a code of ethics. They have a strong sense of right and wrong. Their integrity ensures that they adhere strongly to a set of values about how they do their work. Integrity leads management and others to trust the professional. They say what they will do and do what they say.
7. Maintains high standards of performance. Professionals have high levels of expectations both of themselves and others. They are determined to always do the right thing and do it well. Doing a job well is more important to a professional then the number of hours that they log on the clock. A true professional is unsatisfied with poor performance. While money may be important, it is not the driving force behind the professionalís desire to put forth exemplary work.
It is clear that a professional is defined differently then an average worker. While not every professional will possess every quality of a perfect professional, they do possess most of the traits as defined.