When asked what leadership traits team members admire in their leader, the answers typically center around consistency, values, purpose, dependability, and patience. 

A strong leader represents safety and inspiration. But leaders cannot get to a place where they exemplify these values if they do not incorporate professional behavior into their day-to-day routines. 

When leaders exemplify professionalism, their actions trickle down into the teams. In turn, those teams follow suit. Before you know it, the example of a leader has been woven into the culture of the organization. Ultimately, a commitment to professionalism lines up a business for long-term success. 

Setting an Example 

Being professional does not mean a leader is distant, stuffy, or excused from empathizing with team members. Professionalism is an unceasing commitment to serving the team . The example of a leader sets the tone and expectations for the behavior of every person on the team.

Examples of professional behavior include simple things like:

  • Showing up early to meetings and other scheduled events
  • Being present in conversations
  • Returning messages quickly and courteously 
  • Taking time in evaluative meetings for visioning and growth
  • Demonstrating empathy and kindness to all team members, regardless of position
  • Staying calm during periods of stress and adversity
  • Making certain that humor is appropriate and not at the expense of others

Conveying professionalism means being the person that the team can count on and   placing the needs of others above their own. 

The Value of Preparation 

Few traits showcase professionalism as effectively and simply as being well prepared. Many of the traits discussed above are encompassed in the act of preparation. 

Effective leaders demonstrate professionalism through meetings by: 

  • Creating an agenda
  • Notifying all relevant parties
  • Conducting follow-ups 

Being prepared for meetings also sends a message to colleagues of their importance and sets an expectation for others to follow. In the same way, preparing for important individual conversations tells the team member that they matter. Taking the time to review and prepare when the CEO is arriving and the team is watching inspires confidence. 

The commitment that a leader makes to unwavering professionalism and unflinching preparation in the performance of their role are foundational behaviors that will support a team in achieving success for a sustained period of time.

Learn how you can do to transform your culture by downloading our free resource: The Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Company Culture.