Professionalism in the Workplace Series: Part IV

This is part four of our series on professionalism. Jason Alvarez, ERAU Alumni and Regional Cash Manager for Airplane Contracts at The Boeing Company answers a few questions as to why professionalism is essential in our ever evolving workplace.

What is your personal definition of professionalism?

My personal definition of professionalism is being consistent in achieving high standards, which include both in my personal work and the way I treat others. Five characteristics that I believe create true professionalism in the workplace are the following: Ethical behavior, reliability, accountability, being organized and having a positive attitude. Achieving high quality results is great – but not at the expense of treating someone poorly. Inspiring others – is a win, win for all!

In this new virtual world, has professionalism changed? If yes, for the better or worse?

In my opinion professionalism should not change in a new virtual world. Although it will certainly be different and can often times be more difficult at first (change is difficult), it should not change your ethics or behavior. We (as professionals) need to be aware of our surroundings and tone of voice when we are on video/audio conference calls and make it a habit to connect with those around us that may be struggling in a virtual environment.

What is your advice if someone does not agree on a decision by their supervisor? What is the best professional approach in this situation?

My advice would be to get to the root cause on why there is a disconnect or conflict between you and your supervisor. Once all the facts are laid out on the table, it is easier to understand whether you were right or wrong. I believe the best professional approach would be to have a 1:1 meeting to discuss the specific areas of disagreement and how one can improve. We are all evolving and trying to get better, but it is important to learn from mistakes and to take full accountability. Having said that, never be afraid to share your opinion – it’s what makes you strong!

Aviation is a close-knit community. How does the industry perceive individuals who have a reputation for unprofessionalism or unprofessional behavior?

I agree the aviation is a close-knit community and I would take it a step further…the business world is a close-knit community and many folks attend conferences, volunteer activities or private events and word can spread fast if someone has a good or bad reputation. The industry and corporate world do not want to hire or be around those that have a reputation for unprofessionalism or unprofessional behavior. As the great Michael Josephson said: “Hire for character, train for skills.”

What final advice do you have for students/alumni to continue to always be professional in the workplace?

Always act as if someone is watching. Being professional is a 24/7 job – that does not mean you cannot have fun. Be smart, be humble and most importantly have fun along the way!