Thinking about professionalism and about trust

Since I last posted on this blog, I’ve published a couple of new guest articles on

“What is Professionalism” should be of interest in both career development and in small business performance.

Gina Gardiner gives a list of possible characteristics of professional behavior. It includes such practices as being on time and using time well, speaking appropriately in accordance with one’s audience (e.g. not being patronizing); being knowledgeable, working well under pressure, meeting deadlines, being a good listener — and more. All the things most of us would expect from professionals and ambitious careerists.

I’d like to add that her list of characteristics applies equally to blue collar workers, plumbers, receptionists, retail clerks, cab drivers, gardeners and the many others we don’t usually think about in terms of “professional.” When you stop to think about it, can’t you tell the difference between people in those kinds of jobs or businesses who practice professionalism and those who don’t?

If you have, for example, a plumber into your home, do you appreciate the extra touches companies are starting to use, like having him arrive in clean clothes and put shoe covers on his feet before entering? How about if he says, “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Ma’am,” and otherwise speaks respectfully? How about if he puts on a protective working suit before beginning work, explains what he’s doing as he goes along, washes his hands before offering you a clean invoice in a clean clipboard with a clean pen to sign for the services?

Services companies are starting to realize that competition requires them to stand out. The best way to stand out is to get a reputation for professionalism. They’re starting to train workers to act professionally. It’s making a difference in their bottom lines.

Professionalism is an important attribute of any work. Whether you are just starting out at the lowest echelons of a corporation, just been promoted to first level supervisor, drive a cab, park cars, wait tables or you are in any kind of business whatsoever, consider the ways you can incorporate professionalism into your career or business.

People notice.

In “Trust Withheld; Micromanagement Unveiled,” Eileen McDargh talks about how managers disappoint and disempower employees when they “micromanage.” And, even worse, how they undermine or destroy employee trust in management by showing so little trust in employees.

Mc Dargh makes a good case for becoming good at communicating desired results, limits, time line and expectations and then learning to set back and let the employees work out their own processes. It’s easier on everyone, allows for creativity and innovations and usually gets the best results.