Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Professionalism

At the July division meeting, our new vision was launched:

The FAS Division Transforms the Workplace…
Service, Laughter, Inviting, Excitement, Communication, Innovation, Finest

I hope you all walked away from the meeting feeling inspired and ready to take on those challenges and opportunities that cross our paths on a daily basis. Now that the fall semester is in full swing, I am ready to return to blogging.

In creating a theme for the blog, I thought I would focus on our guiding principles starting with Professionalism for this month’s entry. Creating and maintaining a professional impression in the workplace is an important component for a successful career. What exactly does professionalism mean and what behaviors exemplify professional conduct? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are interacting with colleagues, clients and those we serve in our daily interactions.

Attire
Even though many of us are not subject to an official dress code, it is sensible to dress appropriately for your position. Pay attention to what your colleagues and managers are wearing. If in doubt, my motto has always been “don’t wear it”.

First Impressions
When meeting someone for the first time, stand up when he or she enters the room, make eye contact, smile and firmly shake the person’s hand. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Create a 30 second synopsis of who you are and what you do for the purpose of introducing yourself to new people. This should keep you in the forefront of people’s minds.

Introductions
While representing the University at system-wide meetings and conferences, wear your name tag near your right shoulder so when you shake hands with someone, their eyes are diverted directly to the tag. I can’t remember the number of times I wore my name tag on the left side…YIKES!

Meeting Etiquette
Timing is everything; especially when you are in charge of the meeting. Arrive early, start and end the meeting on time. Be prepared by reviewing the agenda and all briefing materials in advance of the meeting. For those of us who organize meetings, resist the urge to over-invite. We all have full jobs and one less meeting means one or more tasks off the “to do” list.

Learn to Listen
Listening is much more than just waiting for your turn to talk. Engage the speaker by paying attention and please…leave the Blackberry alone. I promise it won’t miss you. :)

Writing
Be careful what you put in writing; you don’t want anything coming back to haunt you. If you need to convey sensitive or confidential information, it may be best to speak directly with the person. E-mail is great for certain communications but not the only way to deliver messages.
Always proofread carefully…spelling and grammatical errors reflect poorly on the sender.

Show your Appreciation
Let your colleagues know when they have done a good job…you will make their day!

Keeping Confidences
True professionals don’t gossip…need I say more?

Office Politics
Pay attention to political undercurrents that can help you navigate tricky situations but avoid becoming directly involved in office politics.

Negativity
Optimism, not just wishful thinking, is the trademark of a successful professional. View setbacks as an opportunity to learn and do a better job the next time around.

Zeal
Perhaps the most important, show genuine enthusiasm about your job and people will love working with or for you, making for a pleasant and productive business environment.

1 comment:

Stealtheor said...

Thank you for the great advice.
-mlt