Identity as a Professional

Between our organizational hierarchy and greater culture, we’ve built a lofty image of what it means to be a professional. 

We view professionals as white collar specialists, a doctor, a lawyer, someone with a name plate on their desk that matches the diploma on the wall—an exclusive “member’s only” club, reserved for those with the credentials or technical expertise that come with owning a briefcase. It’s this conventional wisdom that actually prevents employees from realizing their own professional identity.

This identity struggle locks many workers out of their own potential professional identity, implying that they haven’t earned it, that they don’t deserve the title, and over time entrenches itself into our organizational cultures, resulting in poor performance and an alienated work force.

By refusing a professional identity to our employees, we’re actually fueling their undesired behavior and hindering our long term goals, but when workers are given access, when they’re empowered with a professional identity, that behavior can be mitigated and our outcomes improve.

Professionalism isn’t about the collar of your shirt or the letters that follow your name; professionalism is
a state of mind available to all who aspire to it.

The Seven Mind-Sets of the Trusted Professional

1

Professionals Have a Bias for Results.

2

Professionals Realize (and Act Like) They’re Part of Something Bigger than Themselves.

3

Professionals Know Things Get Better When They Get Better.

4

Professionals Have Personal Standards That Often Transcend Organizational Ones.

5

Professionals Know Personal Integrity Is All They Have.

6

Professionals Aspire to Be Masters of Their Emotions, Not Enslaved by Them.

7

Professionals Aspire to Reveal Value in Others.

Leaders and employees alike naturally aspire to a professional identify because those professional qualities are synonymous with the best qualities in society.

Aspire to be a Professional

Professionalism bridges the gap between knowing and doing. 

It seems simple, but at its core professionalism is a commitment to doing the right things more and the wrong things less. Professionals constantly pursue their organization’s greater purpose and overcome the temptation to settle for what’s easy. This aspiration leads to individuals taking ownership of their actions and environments, lessening the impact of undesired behavior while increasing engagement, performance, and morale.

A professional identity sparks something in the being of employees. It makes their work personal and purposeful rather than just something they do for a check. This simple, profound change bridges the gap between “knowing” and “doing” better and generates astounding results:

Become a Better Professional.

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