BSBCUE307 – Maintain a Professional Approach to Employment Copy
Element 3: Maintain a Professional Approach to Employment
Performance Criteria Element 3
3.1 Display a positive and ethical approach to employment and role
3.2 Identify realistic short and long-term career objectives
3.3 Relate personal capabilities to current role and career objectives
3.4 Identify strategies for projecting a professional image in current role
3.5 Contribute to the promotion of the organisation and its staff to customers.
Display a Positive and Ethical Approach to Employment and Role
It is important to all organisations that they recruit people with a customer-focused mindset. Once employed, their knowledge and skills for delivering service excellence against competencies that are customer-focused must be developed – good communication skills, tolerance, empathy, good judgement, and the ability to interpret service issues and respond appropriately according to the organisation’s rules.
The workplace is a living, breathing organism and everyone impacts it. If you hold a negative attitude, your negative attitude can bring down the entire thing. It’s as contagious as an airborne virus. Voicing a dissenting opinion, speaking assertively ,and saying ‘no’ are not inherently negative. You can, and should embrace your individuality and your professional power. But your delivery has a huge impact. Done in the wrong way, these things can certainly appear negative.
There are, however, a few simple strategies to keep in mind that will help you demonstrate a positive attitude, while still being yourself in the workplace:
It’s amazing how powerful a smile can be. It actually changes your brain chemistry. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to smile regularly throughout the day. Others will respond to you more favourably and you’ll naturally feel more positive.
• Seek Solutions
Negative people see obstacles. Positive people look for solutions. Instead of pointing out a challenge and waving the white flag of surrender, approach it like a puzzle. How can we turn the situation around? How can we fix the problem? How can we make this work? It’s fine to be sceptical, but bring your own ideas to the table as well.
• Remain Professional
Negativity comes from a place of emotion: Frustration, anger, disappointment, etc. Do your best to set these feelings aside. The workplace is a professional environment and it’s your responsibility to act professionally. That means using tact and diplomacy, stating facts before feelings, and finding ways to get the job done even when it’s uncomfortable.
• Respect the Team
Negativity sucks the energy from those around you. Give your team members the respect they deserve. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly positive, focus on the bigger picture. You’re a part of the team and your attitude matters. A little effort goes a long way.
Negativity is like a boomerang: It always comes back to you. Likewise, the more you project a positive attitude, the more positivity will come your way. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. Just recognise the powerful force that is your attitude, and use it to your advantage.
Identify Realistic Short and Long-Term Career Objectives
Establish Your Career Goals
Setting career goals will help you monitor the progress you are making in your career. Successful people are goal oriented, and those at the top of their profession typically have a plan for success and professional progress in their careers. Establishing career goals will keep you on track while working in your profession, and should always be kept in mind.
Setting Career Goals
Career planning becomes critical once you have started your career. Having started in a profession, you will be faced with a series of questions at one time or another. They include:
1. Do I enjoy my current career?
2. Am I progressing in my career?
3. Am I developing the skills and knowledge to be competitive in my chosen profession?
4. Do I have a plan for setting career goals, and monitoring my progress?
5. How can I continue to advance in my chosen career?
Most employers hire people that are committed to their profession and want to excel. On a resume, with clearly defined career goals, supported with relevant experience that shows commitment to those goals, can be the edge that will get you an interview.
By writing out your career goals, you can refer to them often. Evaluating your professional progress is critical to maximise long-term career satisfaction and income potential. Your career goals should be reviewed at least yearly, and it is a beneficial activity to do before your annual performance review at work. You are the best judge of your performance, and if you have a record of achievements versus your annual goals, you are in a better position to negotiate a salary increase, or assume greater duties.
A good place to start is five years from now. Go through and answer the following questions in a brainstorming format on a piece of paper and keep in mind, you are answering them based on the idea of where you want to be in your career 10 years from today. Brainstorming is a creative technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for answers to a question. Basically, write down anything and everything that comes to mind for each question.
1. Where do I want to be in my career five years from now?
2. Why do I want to be there?
3. How can I get there?
4. What additional skills or training will I need to get there?
5. Who can help me get there?
Once you are finished brainstorming, spend some time reviewing what you wrote down and from it, try to create clearly defined, specific answers to each question.
Here is an example as to how someone might answer these questions:
1. I want to be president of my company.
2. I really enjoy what I do and I believe in what this company stands for.
3. Hard work, become known in the industry, build relationships, provide my clients with high value service.
4. I will need to take some courses in management.
5. My current supervisor would be an excellent mentor.
Congratulations you have now set your long-term career goals.
Short-term goals act as stepping stones to your long-term goals. Do another brainstorming activity and write down any and all steps or goals that you feel will help you to achieve the long-term goals you have set earlier. Based on the long-term goals above, two short-term goals might be:
1. Research and sign up for management courses
2. Discuss with my supervisor a formal mentoring relationship.
Some of the long-term goals will require many short-term goals, like becoming president of the company and even becoming known in the industry.
When setting your short-term goals it may be very helpful to use the SMART mnemonic.
Setting SMART goals will help you to reach attainable short-term goals; building confidence along the way in order to ultimately achieve your long-term career goals!
• Follow your heart and passion when setting and achieving your goals. Do what you want to do rather than what you feel you ‘should’ or ‘need to’ do.
• List the benefits for achieving the goal. This will provide you additional motivation.
• List some action steps towards achieving each goal.
• Attach time deadlines to your goals.
• Visualise yourself achieving your goals immediately after you set them. This will build your confidence and remove all doubt that you may have in your mind.
• Take steps each day towards your goals, no matter how small you think the steps may be.
• Anticipate and expect that you will achieve your goals. You may even want to state the goal as if you already achieved it.
• Don’t limit yourself in any way when striving for your goals. Be prepared to do things that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar to you along the journey.
• Get out there and network with people. Things don’t happen when you sit still, keep moving!
• Understand that it is YOU that will achieve YOUR goals, no one else. If you are waiting for someone’s help, stop waiting.
• Take a good look at everything you have already achieved in your career and be grateful and thankful.
• Help or mentor someone else in achieving their goals if the opportunity presents itself.
Relate Personal Capabilities to Current Role and Career Objectives
Relate ‘What You Can Do’ to ‘What You Need To Do’
Self-assessment is something we do often in life, mostly in small ways; for example, analysing why we didn’t get the job we expected after a promising interview, how we performed in a game of Trivial Pursuit, what we said at a recent party.
Self-assessment is about having an introspective look at your skills, goals, knowledge, values, attributes and motivations. You should consider it both healthy and sensible.
You need to be aware of your talents, interests, and skills so that you can make good decisions, and can communicate clearly to managers. Employers will expect you to have assessed yourself and they will also be assessing you – trying to discover your potential, the sort of contribution you might make to their organisation, the nature and range of your skills, and how well you communicate.
This self-assessment should not be seen as a ‘one-off’ exercise. The majority of us will experience a number of job (and in many cases, career) changes throughout our working life. At each step of your career path you will need to again ‘take stock’ of what skills and knowledge you can take to your next employer and reflect on issues such as your values and motivations.
Once done, you will be able to understand what you must do to earn promotions and advancement. For example, if you wish to progress to a supervisory role, you will need a plan to attain the missing skills.
Once you have found an interest in a skill set, start researching possible education and training programs. These programs could range from a four-hour seminar to a fouryear degree. The Internet offers information about all types of training and education programs, and many cities have businesses that specialise in offering short training courses. You can also talk to people within your office who work in the role you’re interested in because they may have taken classes or may be able to recommend a particular school.
Find out if there are professional organisations that focus on topics in which you have an interest. Find out when and where they hold their meetings and start attending so you can learn more about the organisation and the topics of interest.
Discover what cross-training efforts are present so you can learn process and other type of skills that are specific to your organisation and your business interests. Discuss with your manager what steps need to be taken to get you involved in that training effort.
Identify Strategies for Projecting a Professional Image in Current Role
Projecting a Professional Image
Your professional image is the set of qualities and characteristics that represent perceptions of your competence and character as judged by your clients, superiors, subordinates, and colleagues. It is important to distinguish between the image you want others to have of you and the image that you think people currently have of you.
Most people want to be described as technically competent, socially skilled, of strong character and integrity, and committed to your work, your team, and your company. Research shows that the most favourably regarded traits are trustworthiness, caring, humility, and capability.
You can never know exactly what others think about you, or how they would describe you when you aren’t in the room. You can, however, draw inferences about your current professional image based on your interactions with others. People often give you direct feedback that tells you what they think about your level of competence, character, and commitment. Other times, you may receive indirect signals about your image, through job assignments, or referrals and recommendations. Taken together, these direct and indirect signals shape your perceived professional image, your best guess of how you think others perceive you.
You must realise that if you aren’t managing your own professional image, someone else is. People are constantly observing your behaviour and forming theories about your competence, character, and commitment, which are rapidly disseminated throughout your workplace. It is only wise to add your voice in framing others’ theories about who you are and what you can accomplish.
Be the author of your own identity. Take a strategic, proactive approach to managing your image:
• Identify your ideal state.
○ What are the core competencies and character traits you want people to associate with you?
○ Which of your social identities do you want to emphasise and incorporate into your workplace interactions, and which would you rather minimise?
• Assess your current image, culture, and audience.
○ What are the expectations for professionalism?
○ How do others currently perceive you?
• Conduct a cost-benefit analysis for image change.
○ Do you care about others’ perceptions of you?
○ Are you capable of changing your image?
○ Are the benefits worth the costs? (Cognitive, psychological, emotional, physical effort)
• Use strategic self-presentation to manage impressions and change your image.
○ Employ appropriate traditional and social identity-based impression management strategies.
○ Pay attention to the balancing act – build credibility while maintaining authenticity.
• Manage the effort you invest in the process.
○ Monitoring others’ perceptions of you.
○ Monitoring your own behaviour.
○ Strategic self-disclosure.
○ Preoccupation with proving worth and legitimacy.
What is Professional Behaviour?
Some major aspects of professional behaviour include:
• Respect for Others
Showing others respect is the basis of all professional behaviour. It includes:
• Being courteous and having good manners
• Being punctual
• Keeping confidential details confidential
• Being fair in all dealings
• Keeping personal opinions of people private
• Doing what needs to be done, not leaving it for others to do
• Acceptance of constructive criticism
• Being fair and gentle when giving feedback
• Dealing with sensitive issues privately
• Make allowances for other’s mistakes
• Listen to others
• Apologise for any errors or misunderstandings
• Speak clearly and in language others can easily understand.
• Responsibility and Integrity
This is where you must take care of yourself and present yourself in order to gain others’ trust and respect. All professionals need to take responsibility for themselves and their work. They need to consider consequences and the impact on others.
• Honesty is crucial – avoid even the smallest of lies at all costs
• If you commit to something, then follow through with it
• If you are delayed, let the other person know as soon as possible
• Always be respectful about competing businesses / people – point out your
benefits rather than their faults
• Be prepared before meetings and when presenting reports and the like
• Ensure you have made yourself clear to avoid any miscommunication
• Avoid conflicts of interest
• Be impartial – keep personal bias and intolerance out of the business world
• Be reliable and dependable
• Take appropriate actions, rather than trying to hurt someone or their business
when you feel wronged
• Ensure you present yourself pleasantly with good hygiene and appropriate
• Pay for services and products promptly, whatever the cost to yourself
• Demonstrate self-control and avoid public arguments and disagreements.
Commitment to Quality
A professional always aims to give the best they can. Whether it is putting together a product that will last and be safe to use or providing a service of value, you need to give the customer more than they expect. Never give out work you are not proud to have your name on and always do your best work, and the results will reflect these attitudes.
Commitment Beyond Yourself
A professional can see beyond themselves and are willing to share. Some ways to give to others in a professional capacity are as follows
• Take on an apprentice or student
• Participate in professional organisations you belong to
• Volunteer services to a worthy community or charity group
• Encourage conservation within your work place
• Join networking groups and help the members
• Have referral systems in place with competitors for busy periods and complementary services.
Contribute to Promotion of the Organisation and its Staff, to Customers
In order to fully realise and leverage the full value of staff, successful organisations need to find creative ways to tap into its staff networks (both online and offline). Staff are becoming an increasingly common way for brands to leverage their workforce to reach new markets, generate interest, and put a real face on the company. The customers will come to know the organisation’s people as true representatives for the mission of the organisation.
To be an effective communicator for the products and services of your organisation, you must be:
• Well informed
• Able to be trusted – both the organisation and the staff member
• Willing to promote.
The culture creates the context for the message; a positive culture, then, will yield positive messages. A positive culture is created through gaining employee engagement, training, guidance, and perhaps incentives.
• You must always display a positive and ethical approach to employment and role
• Identification of realistic short- and long-term career objectives is important to progress
• Ensure that you have the personal capabilities appropriate to your current role and career objectives
• Identification of strategies for projecting a professional image in current role is essential
• All staff should contribute to the promotion of the organisation and its staff to customers.