- November 13, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Behavior Management
Professionalism is very simply defined as ‘the competence or skill expected of a professional’.
A rather long-winded one comes from a website for small business,
“Professionalism is often defined as the strict adherence to courtesy, honesty and responsibility when dealing with individuals or other companies in the business environment. This trait often includes a high level of excellence going above and beyond basic requirements. Work ethic is usually concerned with the the personal values demonstrated by business owners or entrepreneurs and instilled in the company’s employees. The good work ethic may include completing tasks in a timely manner with the highest quality possible and taking pride in completed tasks”
However, this one includes a work ethic on the part of both employers and the employees, as an integral part of professionalism.Certain apex professional organizations for doctors, chartered accountants, company secretaries etc. have defined and laid down the norms for the community, and created accountability based on it. However, ethics and professionalism in a corporate are hugely interdependent, and raises many questions on implementability.
Independent employee-centric behaviour
- Professional dress and etiquette
- Compartmentalization of work responsibilities and leisure activities.
Dependent behavior pattern
1. Fairness in employee elevations and allocation of assignments
To what extent does the boss’s boss interfere with these decisions?
2. Professional decision-making
Not possible in absence of support from the top.
3. Non-indulgence in gossip
Clear differentiation between grapevine sensitivity, market intelligence and gossip. Employees are encouraged to act as informers or implants.
4. Respect for experience and expertise
Blatant favoritism kills this.
5. Respect for others’ rights
Demonstration needed from the top.
Organizational culture that spawns un-professionalism
- Display of tolerance and encouragement for non-professional behaviour will serve in re-inforcement of the same. e.g. A favored coterie being allowed to indulge in undesirable behavior.
2. Display of unprofessional behavior by the top management e.g. business being run as personal fiefdoms, success achieved by pyrotechnic energy of tyrannical individuals, management discretion being the euphemism for favoritism and unethical practices.
3. Lack of integrity Integrity is about thought, speech and action being in sync. Multiple-speak at different times and on different platforms does not escape the employees’ attention.
4. Use of Foul language starting from the top.
5. Tolerance of Sexual harassment/ womanizing at the work-place
Tolerance equals encouragement in this case, and has a multiplier effect.
6. Corridor declarations This is used as a semi-official indicator of the power structure, and can discourage several other quiet but capable aspirants.
The million-dollar question is
Can professionalism be a one-way street?
- If the response of a boss to work-related matters is based on extraneous factors, how do you expect the employee to remain professional?
- If a capable and honest employee has been repeatedly let down for non-professional reasons, what is the response expected?
- If lobbying is used as a strategy for business domination or sharing the spoils, how does the average employee act or react?
- If no-reply is an accepted form of declining a request, for how long does an employee wait, or how does s/he know the reason for rejection?
- If internal conflicts are built in the system, with a Divide-and-Rule intention, how do members of different teams respond to each other?
- If people are repeatedly treated as being ‘too small in the system‘ to influence decision-making, how is any positive contribution expected in future?