Professionalism in most cases refers to the ability of operating within a certain field following all the set standards of the field. This mainly applies to social fields where a person is expected to mingle with others in the course of operation or delivering the duties he/she is charged with. In most fields, this is a basic aspect that is adhered to ensure that personal relations do not infiltrate into the occupational field making a person to discharge duties with some form of inequity to the clients served. In some cases, mostly leadership and technical duties, the word may be used to indicate expertness in the field. In this paper, professionalism is to be discussed from a leadership and ethical perspective.
Ethical professionalism, also professional ethics, can be defined as a set of standards that are set within a profession that has to be adhered to. These standards are mainly used to guide the people in the profession so as to ensure that they don’t stray from their expected code of conduct. In most professions, this is mainly done internally by set rules and regulations that explain to the professionals in that field what is expected of them. With this in hands and having signed to adhere to the ethics listed, the professionals are thereby bound by the oath they take to remain professionally ethical even if it is risky. In some professions like medicine, this is done by a statutory note that explains to medics and other professionals in the field on how to deal with certain aspects in their field of operations. This exhibits that professional ethics can be either enforced internally within an organization or by a statutory note or order in the whole line of professionalism (Ruth, 1998).
The main aspects dealt with in ethical professionalism dictate the relationship between the professional and the clients that he/she serves. This code of conduct dictates how to handle the client from communication to even physical handling under different situations. The most common ethics enforced in many institutions include: honesty, integrity, competence, transparency, objectivity, respect and respect/obedience to the law of the land. These aspects dictate a very strong code of conduct that effectively guides the people while they need to make decisions on situations which may pose tricky (Ruth, 1998).
The other aspect of professionalism is leadership. In most cases, leadership is often associated with professionalism whereby professionalism is taken as an aspect of leadership qualities. From this perspective, professionalism is viewed as the ability of a leader or a person in authority to handle clients or his/her juniors while adhering to the code of conduct within the set profession. This means that a leader has to have this quality of professionally handling different types of clients whichever approach they may use to make the best out of their conversations which is beneficial to the profession or is within the borders of the profession. This may use of professionally acquired knowledge to handle and deal with human psychology so as to learn of a person’s next move or question even before the person actually airs it since before one utters any well composed sentence, he/she first communicates with body language (Jane, 2010).
Several aspects are associated with professionalism and ethics when it comes to leadership. This is what makes a true leader who can stand in a crowd, sort out their problems and emerge victorious and organized in the eyes of the people. This brings out the basic differences in leadership and professionalism and ethics and professionalism (Jane, 2010).
Taking a look at the two reveals that ethical professionalism dictates how a person deals with a client and the necessary qualities of that professional. This also dictates the personal traits of the leader. With this factor under consideration, it would be practically as well as theoretically correct to claim that ethics in professionalism dictate the personal traits in a certain leader or person. It is these traits that allow or prohibit that person from dealing in a particular way with a client or situation. These personal aspects include:
- Integrity- ability to appear complete and in one piece mostly when dealing with people or clients. This aspect makes the professional to be reliable and dependable.
- Confident and respectful. These two aspects make a leader to be admired by the clients. This helps in boosting their confidence when dealing with that person.
- Honest. This is a very important virtue that makes people create trust when dealing with the professional.
- Self will. This is the professional’s ability to operate under minimal supervision. This serves the purpose of making the professional to be always ready to serve the clients. (Peter, 2004)
For example, in medical professional ethics, the Hippocratic Oath is an oath that prohibits medical personnel from letting a person to suffer any medical problem when they can help. This makes the medical officer even lead a life of serving others without any contempt or considering personal differences. Another oath of this kind is the oath taken by accountants in some countries. This oath prohibits any officer from depriving a person access to any public documents that might be of help to that person. Generally, professional ethics deal with personal lifestyle in the working environment (Peter, 2004). Coming to leadership professionalism, this deal with how a person or leader is taking the society so that there society can know or trust him. For example, leadership professionalism has three main aspects that any leader must have to be effective. These aspects include:
- Focus. This is the ability of the leader to concentrate the people and show them the best way to approach a situation. This increases their mutual trust in the leader.
- Motivation. Under this aspect, a person or leader is able to motivate all the people he/she is leading. This encourages teamwork which is very important for any profession.
- Visionary. This depicts the professional’s/ leader’s ability to project what is most likely to happen to happen in the future. This person always has a big dream for the people he is leading. This keeps the people being led moving and motivated to work to achieve the main goal. (Samantha, 2007)
For example, consider the oath taken by a leader as he/she is being sworn into office. This can be claimed to be a professional leadership oath since it dictates what the people expects of the leader in that office (Samantha, 2007).
Critically looking at these two aspects of professionalism, the two explain very important aspects of professionalism. To begin with, there is no professional without a client. Therefore, the most important player in this team is a client. A client can be any person or another professional who requires attendance. Every client must evidence great expertise in a professional to have confidence in him/her. This means a professional must have personal traits exhibiting what he/she is professionally. Therefore, ethics in professionalism are a very important aspect. This is mainly in cases of personal service but in most cases, leadership professionalism is encountered. Fortunately or unfortunately most leaders know this thus always try to appear to lead by professionalism. This has led to many leaders becoming visionary but only for a short while. Requested to put my opinion on these professionalism aspects, I would go for ethics in professionalism. This is mainly because ethics dictate even how to deal with a society even in situations which are not occupational. This helps inculcate personal discipline, respect for others and respect to their decisions.
In conclusion, professionalism needs a lot of polishing in the ethical sector. This is mainly because most of the societies are multicultural thus a multicultural professional approach must be used. To come up with such a situation, professional ethics must be created to encourage multiculturalism.
Ruth C 1998. Professional Ethics in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Rutledge Publishers
Peter R. 2004. Professional ethics, Oxford University Press
Jane R. 2010. Personal and professional traits of a good leader, retrieved from http://info.shine.com/Career-Advice-Articles/Career-Advice/Personal-and-professional-traits-of-a-good-leader/1938/cid2.aspx
Samantha D. 2007. Leadership and professionalism, Princeton Publishers Inc