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Being a professional means different things to different people, however I think there are a certain set of behaviours I would expect to see from anyone that considers themselves to be professional. I have made a list below and described how I perceive the actions as professional.


There is never an excuse for being rude to people, especially when you are carrying out your chosen vocation. To be polite costs nothing, and earns respect from those around you. Customers can often be rude, colleagues at work may be frustrating, managers might infuriate you, keep your cool. A professional will always maintain a sense of composure, and respond to a situation in a polite, and considerate way, even if they are not receiving the same treatment in return. I will admit I am not always great at following this advice, I often get to a point where I push back rather than take it. It is a hard to remember that every action you take in your life can impact on your reputation, and your reputation stays with you for a long time.


Another low cost behaviour, and one that can help you build your reputation is to always try and help the people around you. Customers, colleagues, and managers all need help at times. If you are the person they turn to, then your reputation for being helpful is good. You might not be the person to solve the problem presented, however if you can do everything you can to lead the person towards a solution then you are showing a sense of professionalism.


Having empathy for those around you at all times shows that you are able to understand the fact that people feel differently about different topics. Something you might consider a funny joke might be offensive to other people, if you are not sure, then do not tell it in that group, and certainly don't send it as a team wide email. Being considerate is about not forcing offense upon people. While you can never prevent people from seeking to be offended by something you have said or done, you can prevent yourself from imposing that statement (or action) on people without their consent. A professional, does not have to be walking on eggshells, however they do need to ensure that their actions are not placing the people around them in unnecessary discomfort.

Record actions

A person who cares about what they do, will almost always record the actions they take to reach end results. If you are in a situation that requires interaction with other people, then recording that interaction, either digitally, or taking notes, and then following up with the people involved with a summary, and the record of the interaction is valuable. This allows people to clarify a point, or change their mind (which is always allowed). When you are working alone, then capturing the steps you take to reach a goal will help you improve, and validate you did not miss anything in the process. Records provide a history that can be returned to, long after the event has been forgotten. This is a good practice to enable processes to be repeated, and prevent mistakes from being repeated.

Communicate clearly

Clear verbal and written communication is critical for teams that are working together to become aligned with goals, and deliverables. Communication is a skill that can be learned and improved. Whatever work you are doing, being able to clearly communicate aspects of that work will help everyone understand the work. When communicating consider the following concepts; i) why are you doing this work? ii) how are you doing this work ? iii) what is the end result ? If the people you are working with (and for) can easily understand these three ideas when you explain them, then you are doing a great job of communicating clearly.

Be Thankful

Be thankful to the people you work with for actions that are taking you towards your shared goal. Explicitly thank people for the time they are committing to activities that help benefit the work you are doing. When you have a meeting (or Teams call) with someone, thank them for the time they have committed to being in that meeting. When someone shares thoughts, ideas, and questions, explicitly thank them for the input. It is not hard to say 'Thank you for that ...' to make it clear that value has been added through the contribution. When the team you work with reaches a milestone, thank each person you work with for their contribution. This ties back into being polite, and also provides positive feedback on the addition each person is making.

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Last update: December 27, 2021 23:49:56
Created: December 24, 2020 00:12:55
Authors: Dr.Neil