How to be a Pro

So you’re in business for yourself or you just landed a great job with
promotion potential. Now, you’re expected to behave in a professional
manner. What does that mean, exactly?

Most of us can think of
examples of unprofessional behavior but let’s look at the positive
side. Here are some of my, highly personal, thoughts both as an
employer and a client.

Be Positive. No one likes to hear a
list of woes and reasons why you can’t do something or don’t feel like
it. If you’re having a bad day, keep it to yourself.

criticism and praise with a grain of salt. Say “Thank you” to both and
then assess for yourself if the feedback has merit. It’s tempting to
downplay criticism and wallow in praise, but the criticism is often
more valuable. Keep your feelings on a leash.

Be courteous and
polite to everyone, even if you think they can’t help you. Being
respectful of everyone you meet, from the Vice President to the copy
clerk, isn’t just good business, it’s good karma.

Do what you
say. This includes small things like picking up lunch for everyone to
big things like meeting deadlines. It also applies to stuff that
sounded like a good idea at the time but not anymore, like helping
collate and hole punch the regulation manuals. Too bad, do it anyway.

your mistakes quickly and find a solution. Everyone makes mistakes,
it’s how you handle them that matters. Admit your error, focus on
resolving it and move forward. Then, shut up about it.

If you
don’t know, say so. Not knowing is OK as long as you admit it. The
important thing is to spend the time and energy to find out what you
don’t know. Being uninformed isn’t the end of the world, the worst
thing is being ignorant.

Remember that appearances count and
take care with yours. Yes, people do judge you on how you look. Learn
to use it to your advantage. Make sure your clothing is appropriate to
the situation from the other person’s point of view as well as
practicing good grooming. This includes your email address and any
online information out there. Clean it up.

Keep personal
information private – don’t over share. People don’t care what you did
all weekend and how you feel about your best friend’s breakup. So, they
won’t know the real you; save that for your close friends.

Don’t gossip or bad mouth anyone – ever. Do you really need an explanation for this? It WILL come back to you in a bad way.

That’s my short list for professionalism. Did I miss something? Or, am I hopelessly out of date?

Monette Satterfield
WON! Women Connecting, Learning and Succeeding

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