I was doing some web surfing at the weekend (even though I have been living at the beach it is the only type of surfing I can do!) and I came across this article on “professionalism in the workplace”. It lists 10 ways to be professional… as detailed below:
1. Competence. You’re good at what you do – and you have the skills and knowledge that enable you to do your job well.
2. Reliability. People can depend on you to show up on time, submit your work when it’s supposed to be ready, etc.
3. Honesty. You tell the truth and are upfront about where things stand.
4. Integrity. You are known for your consistent principles.
5. Respect For Others. Treating all people as if they mattered is part of your approach.
6. Rather than letting your skills or knowledge become outdated, you seek out ways of staying current.
7. Being Positive. No one likes a constant pessimist. Having an upbeat attitude and trying to be a problem-solver makes a big difference.
8. Supporting Others. You share the spotlight with colleagues, take time to show others how to do things properly, and lend an ear when necessary.
9. Staying Work-Focused. Not letting your private life needlessly have an impact on your job, and not spending time at work attending to personal matters.
10. Listening Carefully. People want to be heard, so you give people a chance to explain their ideas properly.
At first glance it seemed like a reasonable, if not particularly inspiring list. However on closer inspection I found a couple of things which really troubled me.
The first is contained in point number 5. “Treating all people as if they mattered” I think the language here is very poor and the implication is that not all staff matter, a classical example of corporate based superficial “lip service…” This could have been put better “Treat all your work colleagues with equal respect regardless of their seniority.”
The second problem I have with the list is what I regard as a very important omission “Never criticise the performance of a work colleague unless there is objective justification to do so, and then only to the person in charge.” Surely few things can be more unprofessional than gossiping about other work colleagues in the laboratory.
Microbiology matters, but people matter much more….
A good reminder also to be very careful about the information that you seek on the net and to alway look at the source of the information as well as the agenda behind it…