Depending on where you work and the type of job you have, professionalism can take on many different forms. There are, however, quite a few common traits when it comes to being professional — and I don’t think this applies only to safety professionals, but to all professionals, whatever your field may be.
These are the 10 that come to the top of my mind.
1. Competence. You are 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 and generally perform to the expectations of your job.
3. Honesty. You tell the truth and are upfront about where things stand.
4. Integrity. You are known for your consistent principles.
5. Respectful. Respect for others means treating all people to make them feel they mattered is part of your approach.
6. Professional development. Rather than letting your skills or knowledge become outdated, you seek out ways of staying current.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. Find ways to deliver your programs and help others succeed and do their jobs better and safer.
9. Staying focused. Setting boundaries is important so you do not let your private life needlessly have an impact on your job or spend time at work attending to personal matters.
10. Listening carefully. People want to be heard, so give people a chance to explain their issues, concerns, actions and ideas properly.
Have I missed any other professional traits? What would you add to the list?
Eldeen Pozniak is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional, a Certified Health and Safety Consultant, a certified health and safety management system auditor, and a chartered member of the U.K.-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. She is the president of the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations. She is also the president and owner of Diggins Safety Consulting, and the director of Pozniak Safety Associates. She can be reached through www.pozniaksafety.com.