Mahatma Gandhi said this:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This directly applies to our professional development.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a woman who managed the payroll department of a small company. Every day, she’d come into work wearing a suit. She dressed impeccably, and her professional behavior mirrored same. She didn’t need to dress as she did, because the culture of the company was casual. Needless to say, I noticed how her behavior stood out from the rest and could see that this was someone I wanted to learn from.
I never heard her utter one cross word. She always conducted herself with the utmost in professionalism which is more than I could say about many of the people working with us, myself included. She commanded a certain respect that others didn’t, and it wasn’t just because she was the payroll manager. That I can guarantee.
A few years ago, I found myself in a situation where I had the choice to lead or be lead. So, I chose to lead by example. While many around me had doubts about how to dress or conduct themselves, I felt certain that my professional behavior spoke for itself. Part of my work as a trainer requires me to dress professionally, even when others are in jeans. I minded this at first, but it didn’t take long to realize the difference this made.
I also choose to communicate well and let my words represent me favorably. Our words say quite a bit about who we are, and people notice. And if we can be the change we wish to see in our world, and lead by example, then we’re on the right track.