Build Trust Through Professionalism – Seven Mindsets for Success

Do you consider yourself a professional? Or do you think professionalism is reserved for those occupations that require a special degree or qualification, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant?

Being a professional has nothing to do with a particular job, title, or degree. It has everything to do with the mindset you choose to hold in the way you approach your work, argues Bill Wiersma, in the Fall 2011 issue of the Leader to Leader Journal. In Fixing the trust deficit: Creating a culture of professionals, Wiersma makes the valuable point that adhering to professional ideals builds trust with others and he offers the following seven mindsets that are characteristic of trusted professionals.

  1. Professionals have a bias for results, knowing that they are counted on to achieve results by using their knowledge, expertise and skills. They develop a track record of success and a reputation for getting the job done, no matter what it takes.
  2. Professionals realize (and act like) they are part of something bigger than themselves. They understand that true success is measured beyond their own personal interests, are good collaborators, and are committed to the goals of their organization. In the world of sports, they say this is being more committed to the name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back.
  3. Professionals realize that things get better when they get better. They are engaged and committed to improving their craft, always looking for opportunities to personally get better. When it comes to being a professional, it’s not just business; it’s personal.
  4. Professionals often have standards that transcend organizational ones, because they are motivated by a core set of values that compels them to do the right thing rather than what’s expedient. They keep focused on the long-term goal and don’t get wrapped up in the daily drama.
  5. Professionals know that personal integrity is all they have. Following through on commitments, being honest, authentic, and not violating the trust that has been extended to them is a reflection of their character.
  6. Professionals aspire to master their emotions, not be enslaved by them. Dealing diplomatically with difficult people, rising above the fray, and remaining objective in emotional situations are key skills for trusted professionals.
  7. Professionals aspire to reveal value in others by keeping their ego in check, celebrating the success of others, and valuing the contributions that other professionals bring to the table. Professionals understand that no one of us is as smart as all of us.

One of my pet peeves is when I hear people describe their work by saying “I’m just a ______” (insert title or job). You are not just anything. Don’t discount yourself or your work by qualifying it with the word “just.” The work you do is valuable and important! Elevate the value of your work and your own self-image by approaching your job with these professional mindsets. You will be more satisfied in your work, perform better, and build higher levels of trust with others.

16 Comments on “Build Trust Through Professionalism – Seven Mindsets for Success

  1. I agree completely. No matter what your position is in the organization, it is important to know that what you are doing is valuable and important. By knowing the value of your work, you will be much more satisfied and work harder.

    • Thanks for your comments Zach. It’s amazing how powerful a change in mindset can be in influencing the way we approach our work.

      Best regards,


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  3. Totally agree! being a professional is one of the toughest job for managers and top management to educate their sub-ordinates about.

    Changing the mindset is never going to be an easy task, yet, it is an enormous fruitful effort and worth every second you spend upon!

    Thank you Randy!

    • Hi Abozaid. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that changing peoples’ mindsets is not an easy task. I struggle with the same challenge on my team, but the results are worth the effort to keep preaching the message.

      Best regards,


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  5. Agreed, to all the points stated in this article. This is really a helpful reference to those who craves to ‘learn’..

  6. Absolutely agree…if only all leaders followed these guidelines…

    • Hi Cathy. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Wouldn’t life at work be. So much easier if everyone had these mindsets?!

      Take care,


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  8. I second that! A professional need to master his/her emotions and not be enslaved by them. I have never seen a like minded professional getting impulsive or uncontrolled with the various ups and downs in work. Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed reading about the professional aspect 🙂

    • Expressing emotion in the workplace in appropriate ways can make or break people’s perception of our professionalism. It’s important not to go too overboard with either extreme (no emotion vs. excess emotion).


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  10. Yes I agree. When you understand your importance in the value-chain that is the structure of the organisation, it would inspire you to maximize your productivity so that your goal and that of the firm could be achieved. Thank you very much for sharing this great article.

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