Nine Essential Tips for Gaining Professionalism in the Workplace
Hi, this is Greg Fox from Fox Family Heating and Air. One of my goals for this blog is to bring up-and-coming technicians, existing techs, and even aspiring business owners some insight into the more personal side of HVAC and other blue-collar service industries. One of my long-time viewers, David Melendez, is an instructor in the HVAC field. David asked me to discuss a topic that we both feel should be a no-brainer for any job. Today I’m going to give you nine ways you can come across more professionally at your job, so you can hang on to it for many years.
The way you carry yourself, the way you speak to others, and the way you look each and every day shows your level of professionalism. Look around; it’s the people around you that look sharp, seem confident, and have the trust of everyone around them who are the leaders in your workplace. You don’t have to be in a management position to be considered a leader within your company, either. Leaders will get promoted from within their company, or they’ll get poached from other companies who see their professionalism.
There are just too many blue-collar service technicians who are getting the job done but are leaving their customers and their bosses unsatisfied.
Here are nine ways to make yourself come across more professionally in today’s workplace:
1. Be the eager person you were when you got hired
A good way to gain professionalism is to try not to get complacent with your job. People get hired because they make promises to the company that they’re going to do this, and are really looking forward to doing that. Once they’re hired, the fizz on top of their soda runs out, and it seems like people start taking things for granted. Stay interested in your job. Looking forward in your career, you’re always showing your customers and your supervisors why they should keep choosing you for the job.
2. Be organized
Keeping your service or install van looking organized and clean is one of the best ways to come across more professionally. Any supervisor is going to remember who has the dirties vans and who has the cleanest vans. Those with clean, organized vans will be recognized by their peers, too. They may see your van’s dashboard wiped down each week with Armor-All. They may see that it’s washed once a week. Having a place for everything in your van is definitely the way to go. There are bins and toolboxes you can get to the store to do this. It’s easier for people to take you more seriously when you have a clean, well-organized van too.
3. Work smarter, not harder
Having a clean van means you can find things easier, which makes you more efficient. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you when working on the job site is to be efficient with your moves. If you are going to your service area to start your job, bring something with you that you might need on a later step. Also, if you’re going back to the truck to get a part, bring something back with you, that you’re not using anymore.
Installers and service techs could save a great deal of time if they would consolidate their steps. Meaning if you know you’re going to need your recovery machine early on in your procedure, bring the other stuff you need, too, like an extension cord and the recovery tank. If you have a free hand when walking back and forth to your service area, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could be.
4. Admit when you are wrong
Nothing shows integrity more than holding yourself accountable for your actions. No understanding company is going to fire you if you mess up something but are honest with them. Dishonesty is probably the quickest way to get let go from your company, because if they can’t trust you, why are you even there?
5. Be on time for work and meetings
When the boss says we have a training session at 7 am on Wednesday, you should be inside that building or sitting in your van waiting to go in at least ten minutes before it starts. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but not being on time screams unprofessionalism on your behalf. If you want to make your instructor or supervisor feel like they’re not important, just keep on being late. You’ll soon have some other place to be that you can be late to.
6. Dress to impress
Those of us in the service industry may usually have jobs where we get dirty during the day. Most companies know this and are more lenient with your dress as the day goes along. You may have had to crawl through the attic to run a new electrical circuit. You may have had to go under the house to reconnect a duct or repair a pipe. I’m proud of my techs when I see them getting dirty as their workday goes along. That means they’re working hard and going into places they should be going to do their job thoroughly.
Having said that, you’re always going to want to be your sharpest looking first thing in the morning. Having your hair brushed, your boots on, with clean pants, and a clean shirt shows a lot of professionalism. Always know that people are looking at you every day. They’re forming an opinion of you whether you realize it or not.
7. Be reliable
Professionals are reliable. People know they can count on you to be there if you do it regularly. On the worksite, being available for your coworkers will earn you a ton of respect. If you can step in and help someone in a time of need, your peers and everyone else will know.
Always improving your skills by reading material, or getting more specialty tools to make your job easier will make you more reliable. If you’re not showing your coworkers and company this, you may come across as not wanting to be there, not wanting to improve, not wanting to be counted on.
Professionals are stable. If you’re the person on your team that surprises people with unwanted or outlandish acts, you will realize no one wants to work with you anymore.
8. Show Confidence
Those of you who are more confident at work will be more successful at work. Confidence is all about knowing what you can do and doing it well. It’s about being able to tell your boss, “Yeah, I can do that.” To be able to take an assignment and do it well takes a lot of pressure off your supervisors. Do that over and over, and you’ll be on your way up the ladder, too.
9. Speak up
People who are confident speak up more than others. If something doesn’t make sense or come across clearly, confident people don’t shy away from saying something. I’m not saying if a company’s policy doesn’t sound right, you should stand up and object in front of everyone in the room. But you could calmly raise your hand and be called on, and respectfully say what you’re thinking. I’ve always been that person. It’s not rude. And it’s not done to try to get a rise out everyone sitting in the room. It’s actually a leadership quality to play the devil’s advocate sometimes, so all sides are considered.
If you carry yourself well, communicate well, look sharp, and are reliable, you’re going to go far in any company, even if it’s your own. These are the people who are considered leaders wherever they go.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and we’ll see you next time.