Professional behavior goes beyond just thinking about acting with professionalism. It involves specific steps and actions you implement in a job to fulfill your duties and responsibilities to clients, customers, co-workers and company associates. No matter what your job, critical thinking and problem-solving, ethical and responsible role fulfillment, initiative and accountability, and appropriate nonverbal gestures and demeanor all demonstrate professional behavior.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Critical thinking is an intentional effort to think through processes logically. A professional is more likely to think through a challenging scenario to choose the best action as opposed to acting impulsively or irrationally. Problem-solving professional behaviors are closely tied to critical thinking as well. Thoughtful problem-solving involves an intentional step-by-step approach of listening, investigating, defining and then working to resolve a problem. Consultative salespeople are problem-solving professionals. They ask questions of prospects, address concerns, consider alternative remedies and recommend solutions. Managers or leaders also work through problem-solving steps to find optimum solutions.
Ethical and Responsible Actions
Professionals exhibit moral decision-making and responsible actions in many ways. A professional respectfully follows his manager's directions to complete tasks and projects. When faced with a choice between doing right by a customer or making immediate profit for the company, an ethical professional does what is right first. An honest and trustworthy worker uses company resources and materials efficiently just as he would his own. In contrast, less professional and ethical workers may overuse or abuse access to resources and even use them for personal purposes. Responsible employee behaviors include turning in completed work by deadlines and following through on commitments to co-workers and clients.
Initiative and Accountability
Employees show initiative by seeking new work and responsibilities and by looking for resources without always needing assistance. In a retail setting, a professional sales associate organizes product displays and completes routine cleaning activities when there are no immediate opportunities to help customers. Professionals also show initiative by seeking internal and external training opportunities, such as attending workshops and conferences, or mentoring a new employee. Accountability means accepting ownership of mistakes or problems, and working for a remedy. Service reps often have to take personal accountability for company failures to satisfy a customer's desires.
A variety of nonverbal gestures and mannerisms fit into a category of behaviors that make up professional demeanor. Dressing and grooming in line with the job and company policy are examples. Professionals dress to project the right image to customers, not to test the minimum boundaries of company policy. Professionals maintain poise under pressure and show respect for others rather than lashing out physically or emotionally. Shaking hands firmly, listening actively and with eye contact, smiling and standing with tall posture are other elements of professional demeanor.