Your Success Thought for the Week of May 10, 2006

I had a harsh ‘customer service’ morning recently which lead to revealing discussions on the significance of professionalism. I believe there is learning everywhere. Last week was my week to delve into this area of human behavior.

Like most of you, I have one ‘catch-up’ morning each week to tie everything together—errands, paperwork and, if I am very lucky, a lunch with a friend. I love these mornings, considering them my free time instead of weighty ‘have to’ tasks. I put on a great book on CD or music and start at my favorite coffee shop.

On this particular morning, I believe that everyone with whom I interacted woke up on the wrong side of his bed. Normally, if I come up against a number of individuals who are not happy, I consider that a reflection of my energy. Not so that day. Instead, it appeared that these individuals either hated their jobs or their lives.

So, what constitutes professional behavior and why is it important? Here’s what I discovered:

  1. Professional behavior is reflective of the individual, not the setting. A person at a burger stand can show more proficient and respectful behavior than an individual climbing the corporate ladder.
  2. It’s a matter of attitude, awareness and desire. Check your attitude, be aware of your effect on whomever you are interacting, and have a desire to make a positive impact.
  3. Positive equals productive. Your positive thoughts and actions will produce more productive results. Consider what is positive to the client—a job well done, warm smile, timely returned calls, speed, efficiency? It’s a little different for everyone.
  4. Professional behavior starts with eye contact and ends with appreciation. Taking a moment, even over the phone, to acknowledge the individual with whom you are doing business and to assess their state of mind is invaluable. This provides volumes of information on how to proceed. Sincere appreciation leaves them feeling great about your interaction and eager for more.
  5. Remember that it is all about them and not you. Your current state of health, relationships, or frustration has nothing to do with the client or co-worker.
  6. If you must share something personal, make sure it is upbeat and relevant. Everyone has enough to deal with. If they think they have to take on your ‘stuff’, even if it is only communicated through your attitude, they’ll avoid you.
  7. Know that you are transparent. What you are thinking about is communicated through tone of voice, body language, or essence. Get your thoughts in line before greeting that customer.
  8. Remember that professional relationships take time to develop. Don’t push too hard too soon. A slow, steady focus on them and their needs will show them what they get when dealing with you. We humans need this consistency.

Alistair Cooke says: “A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it.”

What can you learn about your own level of professionalism this week? I would love to hear your additional thoughts and observations on this topic. In our fast-paced world, this is an area far too often left behind.

Enjoy your discoveries and have an enlightening week.


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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