Professionalism Jonathan Poland

Professionalism is the practice of following the standards and expectations of one’s profession, organization, and role. It involves upholding the values and behaviors that are considered appropriate in a given field or workplace. The following are illustrative examples.

Appearance, Grooming & Hygiene

Maintaining a reasonable professional appearance and level of personal hygiene.


The how-know, talent and fundamental knowledge required of a role. For example, a software developer with a solid grasp of the first principles of computing.


Actively contributing to conversations, decision making, strategy and work in line with the expectations of your role.

Social Norms

Adherence to the social norms of a culture, society and organization. For example, shaking hands with a customer and maintaining an appropriate level of eye contact.


Taking an appropriate level of care in executing your duties. For example, an accountant who double checks all work such that they rarely make big mistakes.

Time Management

Reasonable use of time. For example, playing video games at work isn’t typically considered professional.

Resource Management

Reasonable use of resources. For example, a manager who always gives their direct reports enough work to do.


Producing a reasonable amount of output in an hour of work.


The ability to continue to be productive without direction. For example, a designer who doesn’t wait around for work but pushes into projects and initiatives such that they are always busy.


Following direction, instructions and rules.


Communicating anything you feel is important as opposed to keeping things secret.

Personal Resilience

The ability to endure stress, criticism and office politics without loss of motivation, engagement or productivity. For example, an employee who can cope with the minor injustices that are common in the real world without becoming overly dramatic or emotional.

Respect for the Customer

Engaging customers in a friendly and flexible way such that they are unlikely to become difficult. When they do become difficult, professionalism calls for an employee to remain calm, cool and courteous.


Cooperating and building up others.


An earnest desire for your organization to succeed. This doesn’t mean you need to agree with strategy or defend everything your organization does.


Telling the truth even if it is inconvenient.

Risk Management

Taking reasonable steps to manage risk.

Accountability & Responsibility

Taking the blame for a failure when you are accountable or responsible.

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