Acting like a professional really means doing what it takes to make others think of you as reliable, respectful, and competent. Depending on where you work and the type of job you have, this can take on many different forms.
There are, however, quite a few common traits when it comes to being professional. This includes the following:
This was the biggest problem with the pilot’s performance that day. Confidence without the ability to back it up is useless, but if you’re truly competent, own it.
As you walk down the hall at work, a manager stops and asks you to take care of a quick task, ASAP. You agree to it and then go back to your desk. The next morning, the manager informs you that they’ll have to work over the weekend to complete the task that *you* completely forgot about.
So when it comes to being dependable, aim for good surprises. For instance, be the person who can swoop in and save the day and help your boss or co-workers with a task or project when someone else drops a bad surprise! When colleagues recognize that you’re good at your job, they’ll naturally assume you’re good at other things too, and will feel comfortable coming to you if you consistently prove them right.
Excel at Communication
Professional communication skills need to be employed in the meeting room, at the water cooler, and especially over email and other instant communications, where all too often, people fire off heated messages they come to regret later, or employ a tone with their words that gets misinterpreted.
Instead, savor the opportunity to learn and grow on a daily basis. Being someone who is positive and optimistic, smiling by default, will motivate and inspire others around you.
Be Intellectually Honest
Professionals aren’t afraid to take responsibility and admit when they’re wrong before a situation gets out of hand, and colleagues will respect you for it. Similarly, you shouldn’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers by saying “I don’t know,” or by asking questions. True professionals are always eager to learn new things, and get a better understanding of what’s expected of them.
This is a part of displaying confidence — knowing who you are and where you fit in the world, and owning your strengths and weaknesses. If you do that, you can work to buttress the things you don’t do as well
It’s good entrepreneurial advice to “fake it till you make it,” but your performance needs to be grounded in truth. Otherwise, no matter your skills, your deficits, your interests — or frankly, even the things you aren’t interested in — people can tell.
Dress for Success
Anyone who owns a power outfit knows that the right clothes can be a big confidence booster. Research has shown that if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd in a creative industry, you should attempt to dress daringly and show your individual style.