The Psychology of Professionalism


Things happen. That’s a fact of life that nobody can dispute. But how to deal with changes and stress is a subject that provides plenty of discussion.

Recently I have been witness to an example of poor professionalism by one competitor to another from a bad case of ‘fear induced negativity’. As the old saying goes, engage brain before mouth. Sadly this is not always the case in today’s modern world where everyone can have an opinion for all to hear, whether it is factual and true - or not. Often these keyboard warriors are lions behind the safety of their little screens, but turn to fearful mice when confronted face to face.

Having spent my earlier years in psychology, before embarking on a very successful career in marketing - with the wisdom of experience and age - it is a wonderful asset to be able to entwine these two symbiotic disciplines. One doesn’t exit without the other. Psychology, the science of mind and behaviour, permeates business on many dimensions - from negotiation, to sales, to product design, to employee behaviour. In it’s simplest form, business is psychology.

When you understand human behaviour, you improve your chances of making your business succeed. How clients, colleagues and prospects perceive a business, their staff and associates makes a big impact on the success of that brand. Launching into keyboard warfare from fear of competition, only harms your own brand and disengages your own audience. How do clients, colleagues and associates perceive these individuals and businesses who act in such an undignified manner? As professionals? I think not.

The questions businesses and employees need to consider are:
• Have you ever wondered how you present yourself to colleagues?
• Ever wondered what kind of impression you make in workplace interactions?
• Ever wondered what kind of leader you are?

Quite simply, you are the sum of your thoughts. Fill your mind with negative thoughts and that is what you become. Fill your mind with positivity  and that will come through in everything you do - your words, your actions, your behaviour. Which would you prefer to be?

“You cannot achieve great success without being helped along the way. Do anything that might make the world a better place for someone.” Walter Payton, Chicago Bears

Being a professional in your chosen field means much more than wearing a coat and tie or possessing a college degree and a noted title. Professionalism also has to do with how you conduct yourself during your business affairs. True professionals possess a number of important characteristics that can apply to virtually any type of business.

Here are a few to consider:

Your demeanour should exude confidence but not cockiness. Be polite and well-spoken whether you’re interacting with customers, superiors or co-workers. You need to keep your calm, even during tense situations. 



As a professional, you will be counted on to find a way to get the job done. Responding to people promptly and following through on a promise in a timely manner is also important, as this demonstrates reliability.



A professional must maintain their poise even when facing a difficult situation. As an example; if a colleague, client or competitor treats you in a belligerent manner, you should not resort to the same type of behaviour. Never be-little a competitor directly to try and gain traction for your own means.



Defamation law can apply to comments posted on the web, irrespective of whether the comments are made in a public or private capacity. Defamation is considered to have occurred when statements are published to a third person or group of people, the person to whom the comments refer is identifiable, and the comments cause damage to that person. Be very careful with what you write. Remember - engage brain first. 



You’ve probably been reminded of the Golden Rule throughout your entire life - “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

While that’s sound advice, is it applicable to your business?

Absolutely. It’s the Golden Rule of business! When you take the time to truly listen and understand the point of view of the other person in a situation, walk in their shoes, and feel empathy, only then can you do what they would want done—and assure yourself of a better outcome. Even saying ’thank you’ can be a small but important way to build a community of loyal advocates.


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