6 ideas to combat lack of professionalism

Daniel Colombo, one of the most prestigious coaches in Latin America, shares with us a new report where he reveals how to boost productivity during the Covid-19 crisis

Being a professional does not guarantee professionalism.

In fact, we all live situations with people who have degrees and backgrounds, and who are far from behaving like professionals.

So what is professionalism at work? It is the quality of excellence applied to the development of a certain activity, where values, responsibility for the process and the result, commitment to the task and superior quality are highlighted at all times.

Although conceptually speaking of professionalism in people with academic degrees, it also applies to all kinds of professions, disciplines such as art and sport, and it would be desirable that, for example, in the business and government spheres, this trait also prosper. top quality.

In my perception, having professionalism is directly linked to work ethics, that is, the set of values, distinctive qualities and positive contributions of excellence that a person makes, applying their knowledge in pursuit of achieving an overcoming result.

  • Lack of profesionalism

As much as someone calls themselves "professional", there are many cases where they make water, and their lack of professionalism is far from being tolerable. Concrete examples:

  • Lateness
  • Failure to meet deadlines and tasks (promise and fail)
  • Technical ignorance of the task
  • Lack of empathy in the relationship with others
  • Search for controversy and permanent discussion
  • Gossip
  • Spelling mistakes; gross grammatical errors
  • Make the least effort
  • Engaging in criticizing others
  • Mix love relationships with work
  • Not making commitments
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Providing poor care
  • Generate more problems than solutions
  • Having treatment, presence and forms that are not in accordance with their responsibilities.
  • The advantages of being professional

A person who is recognized with professionalism in her field builds her positive reputation. This is accomplished over time, takes years and is based on small daily "professionalisms" that, added together, give a result of excellence and recognizable quality.

Having professionalism transforms you into a trustworthy person, a mirror that reflects some aspects that others would like to emulate; and, also, in an internal pride that increases your self-esteem and self-worth, since it knows that it is doing, always and under all circumstances, everything humanly possible at the highest level of excellence.

Although this description seems very demanding when reading it, this is how professionalism is built: giving everything. He who is professional is not lukewarm: he is passionate, committed, and adds value, his extra mile, in everything he does.

Even in their weak points (which have them), those who are recognized for this quality correct themselves, learn, study, ask for feedback, improve permanently. This, too, is what sets them apart from others.

  • How to deal with a lack of professionalism

Companies and teams abound with people with professionalism, and some lacking it. However, this quality is so evident in some and in others, that sometimes the professional without commitment who works “according to regulations” can vitiate and overshadow the work of those who do stand out.

To combat the lack of professionalism in organizations, it is necessary to face a consistent quality program that involves everyone, since it is not enough for the manager to call the person alone and call their attention: this will not bring about transformation.

And, good to know, there will be people who will never behave professionally, partly because it does not matter to them -it is called mediocrity-, and partly because perhaps for them their internal measure of "giving it all" is very low, even from the ground: against this there is nothing to give him.

Some ideas to tackle the topic:

1-Promote meritocracy
It is about designing the human and talent management strategy in organizations - regardless of size - where the one who strives the most in terms of quality, compliance and professionalism has access to better opportunities. It is a policy that needs to be sustained over the years to see results. A fundamental aspect is when it comes to recruiting collaborators: the pole needs to rise above the basics to detect the best and add them. It is important that everyone knows how to grow within the company, and that this is part of a systematic and regulated program.

2-Give training opportunities
Although a professional comes with a series of knowledge or experience in their subject, to combat the lack of professionalism it is necessary to continue training permanently, not only in hard and technical subjects, but in soft skills. This sensitization process will result in a clearer visualization of whether the person has the aptitude to begin to have professionalism, or, after several months, it will be assessed that they will not succeed for different reasons. The approach that I suggest is that you always bet on the opportunity and possibility of self-development towards greater professionalism, and not put before the prejudice that the company has formed regarding the collaborator in question.

3-Set deadlines for the unprofessional
When situations of unprofessionalism recur and have become a problem for the company, it is necessary to maintain frequent evaluations regarding performance, give and receive quality feedback, and establish indicators from low to high to invite and challenge the person. to move towards something overcoming. It is important here to note the process, how long this evaluation to which you are undergoing will last, and the consequences that it could have if it does not come to fruition, for example, a dismissal, a transfer to minor tasks, etc.

4-Establish a code of ethics in professional practice in the company
I also suggest that each company clearly establish a professional code of ethics that includes the basic aspects of the level required for the development of tasks. What is relevant here is knowing that, just as employees, managers, partners, shareholders and other members will also be required to adhere, sign it and that their legitimacy be recorded and filed.

5-Stimulate knowledge sharing and mentoring
A strategy that I apply in many organizations where I work as a business and executive coach is to establish permanent programs and policies to socialize the knowledge that workers acquire. In turn, people with experience in a certain field can transfer it to others (even those who are detected as unprofessional), to stimulate them and invite them to raise the bar.

6-Incorporate the unprofessional in projects that challenge them, to measure their performance and commitment.
In order to evaluate the performance of those collaborators lacking professionalism, it is possible to involve them in special projects and leave them in charge to lead it. Here the norm will be very clear regarding what happens if the objectives are not reached; how they will stimulate each other and how this process will be supervised. It is a way of measuring performance, commitment and professional quality, to tangibly visualize what we can expect from them. In short, the final result will depend on the decisions to be made in the future.

Applying these strategies it is possible that some "awaken" their professionalism; Others may be relocated to other sectors, and, once the options are exhausted, they may untie those who, having gone through different instances such as those described in this article, have not acted sufficiently to move to greater professionalism in their performance.

Daniel Colombo
Facilitator and Executive Coach Master specialized in CEOs, senior management, professionals and teams; professional communicator; international speaker; author of 30 books. LinkedIn Top Voice Latin America 2019. Member of the John Maxwell Team.
Books: www.amazon.com/author/danielcolombo
Instagram: daniel.colombo
Twitter @danielcolombopr

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