Characteristics of Professionalism

In our Pre-MA Module, that 2-week introductory and foundation building module before students join the full flow of the program, one of the things we cover is Professionalism. We discuss its definition, its components, and its importance, in school and in the workplace. We push our students to approach their educational time with us with professionalism, allowing them to practice for their future workplace.

I bring this up because I came across a web posting the other day, sorry I don’t recall just where, but it caught my eye and I jotted down some notes. What I encountered was a list of attributes the author felt employees should have, but the reason it caught my eye was that he/she titled them as attributes that “require zero talent”. I object to the “zero talent” part. While “being on time” (from the list) may seem to not require talent, it still requires life experience with being on time in acquiring the skill/talent. If you have never had to be on time, you are not likely to ever be on time. Doesn’t it require some talent to bend our actions to life experience and societal expectations? I think so. We need to be taught life skills, we are not just born with those that are most important to education, our jobs, and our lives.

Another from the list was “being coachable”. It, too, is critical to being a successful and prized employee, but if you haven’t been shown the value of allowing yourself to be coached, you won’t be coachable. If you have not been shown that it is safe, and rewarding, to go along with being coached, you won’t be coachable.

We teach the latter in all of our programs by our interactions with our students. We coach skills and other information in a safe environment and prove that there are rewards in being coached. We teach being on time by our actions, starting on time, and our limited tolerance for tardiness.

We help our students build their professionalism, because it is not innate and because much of what we observe in our day-to-day interactions with our society tends not to reinforce professionalism. Professionalism requires talent and life skill experience, along with modeling and individual support to acquire that talent.

More to come on professionalism…

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