On Being Professional


Every leader wants to be viewed as being “professional”.  Maybe a better word for this would be “legitimate”.

When we are new to leadership , we work hard to establish ourselves, to prove ourselves and to be respected.

I’ve noticed that many young leaders expect this to happen immediately.  It doesn’t.

Being accepted as a leader, or as a “legitimate” leader takes time and it takes some work.

Here are some tips of things to think about:

#1) Whatever your job is, do it well

It doesn’t matter what you do.  Learn it, know it, do it well, and work at doing it better.

#2) Be known for your integrity

Do the right thing, no matter what.  This includes conversations, ethical behavior and guiding principles.

#3) Don’t be self-promoting

Don’t use words to promote yourself.  Use your work, your skills and your proven success.

#4) Be reliable

Do what you say you’ll do, and if you fail, don’t blame others.  Just take it and move on.

#5) Listen more than you talk

Learn to listen to others.  You can learn from them, especially when you ask good questions.

#6) Respect others

Accept others and be encouraging.  They will reciprocate.

#7) Help your team

Be known as a helper and a supporter.  When people can count on you, it changes the whole dynamic.

#8) Dress and act professional

First impressions aren’t always right, but if you want people to take you seriously, be sure to carry yourself that way, even if others aren’t.

#9) Be positive

People avoid people who are always negative, and that label is hard to get rid of.  Don’t be a whiner.

#10) Never stop doing the 9 things above.

Just because you’ve “arrived” doesn’t mean you can slack off.  Keep working hard, all of your life, on your leadership. You’ll grow and develop and others will too.

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