Do you know your professional personality?
Your professional personality is simply a conscious choice that you make as to how you present yourself as a person, within your profession. To clarify, let’s consider what may be a typical personality we may encounter within some of the more serious professions, such as lawyers, bankers, etc. Often we think of these people as being very serious, stiff, white collars and button down shirts. We may not expect to see them smile, let alone laugh or joke around. Yet we know that’s not necessarily the case. These people like to have fun too, just like everyone else. Even though the nature of their work may require them to appear serious, many of them still allow their more fun personalities to come to the surface. The same can be said of professions which are typically more fun and quirky. We expect the people to also be fun and quirky, yet sometimes they are serious too.
The question which may arise is how to find the right balance or mix. On one hand we want to appear competent, yet on the other we want to have fun and enjoy our work. I believe most of us would agree that if you are too serious or too quirky, it may not help your career, regardless of your industry. If you’re too serious, people may not feel comfortable dealing with your cold personality. If you’re too quirky, you may not appear to be truly competent in your field. We all have to find the right combination.
Sometimes it can be challenging to figure someone out. Often the reason is that there is a lack of consistency as to how we perceive them. This may be due to that person’s changing mood, or due to our own changing mood. One day you may deal with someone who is smiling and joking with you as you’re conducting business. Then the next day they’re very serious and keep the conversation short. It can be confusing, and it may even give the impression that they’re upset with you.
This is why it’s very important for each one of us to be consciously aware of our mood. When we’re in a professional environment such as when representing our company, we can’t afford to allow our bad moods to potentially drive business away. It’s important to keep a close eye on how we’re feeling and conducting ourselves. Maintaining a consistent professional personality will ensure the those you are communicating with will feel at ease. They will feel that they know you because they know what to expect when dealing with you.
Choosing Your Personality
Most people don’t put much thought into consciously choosing their own professional personality. They simply go to work and get through the day. Think about how you would like to be treated when dealing with someone in your industry. For example, if you’re a bank teller, think about how you want to be treated when you go to the bank. There are so many things that speak to your personality, even before a single word is spoken. Some things to consider are eye contact, facial expression, hair style, clothing, jewellery, piercings, tattoos, and body language. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! Those items are just the visuals.
Now let’s consider how you speak. Some items to think about are volume, enunciation, tone, choice of words, profanity, vocal variety, and clarity of your meaning. This may be a lot to take in all at once. To start, simply try to be more mindful of just a few items and work them into your professional personality. Before you know it, they will become a natural part of who you are. You can then work on the next few items. It’s a never-ending self-improvement process. Have fun with it though and enjoy the benefits of being more personable, engaging, informative, and likeable.
Check Your Online Profiles
Hopefully you already have created your online profiles on the various social media channels. Most of us think of Facebook as being more fun, sort of like how we hang out with friends on the weekend. Linked In is considered to be more serious, as it represents us in our profession. Take another look at your profiles and see if they truly match up to who you are, or to who you want to be. They should match up, otherwise you’re creating a false expectation for others. Your profile probably shows you at your best, with a big toothy grin, along with a nice set of clothes, and neatly combed hair. If that’s the case, then that is what people will expect when they meet you.
Be mindful of your professional personality.
Imagine someone’s disappointment in you if you don’t live up to the image you created online. That disappointment could mean being skipped over for a promotion, losing a sale, or worse. To avoid those pitfalls, take a few moments during the day and double check that the real you is holding up to the online version of you! Being mindful of your professional personality on a constant basis will make you more successful. It will also put you in a better mood, and you’ll be better able to handle those frustrating challenges that come at you too.
Don’t go overboard though. You don’t want to fake a friendly personality, or to overdue it so much that it becomes counterproductive. It’s amazing how we can all tell when someone is being too friendly. It immediately creates an atmosphere of suspicion. You always want to be yourself. The main goal is to be consciously aware of your inner mood and how your outer self is seen by others. You can make small course corrections throughout the day as needed. There shouldn’t be any sudden major shifts in your personality. Instead there should be an ongoing gradual improvement in how you think, feel and act.
Keep up with these self-improvement considerations, and over time you can slowly and genuinely transform yourself into the person you want to be. The key is to be mindful of yourself and others, and to view everything from multiple perspectives. Challenge yourself, have fun with it, and reap all the rewards!