Academic Analysis Professionals should always be rooted to where they have come from
The writer in this book explains how to conduct one’s career as a professional with both intelligence and integrity. It sums up the writer’s knowledge of what it means to be a professional—ideas and practices that are universally acceptable. The first three sections of this book dealing with integrity, self-awareness and basic professional qualities are the fundamental pillars on which every individual must built his life’s work, indeed the basics on which he engages with others in everyday life.
The writer begins with the idea of integrity which is the key stone of the arch of professionalism. It comprises of men’s ability to work unsupervised and be able to certify the completion of his work. Integrity in the professional context, according to the writer, means that we follow the rules, use fair judgment in their absence in a manner that stands public scrutiny without causing any embarrassment. The writer makes a comment on our educational system stating that it has failed to provide an understanding of the idea of professionalism, as little space has been provided to professional ethics in our professional or technical curricula. The writer moves to next step and discusses the attributes of self-awareness and how one acquires these attributes. He advises the professionals to always remain of where he has come from and where he was at a particular time. One should have a reasonable view of the future which requires acknowledgement of ground reality, a statement of intent in the overall direction and sometimes a clear destination or purpose. The greatest satisfaction a professional derives, not out of earning money but admiration from the people with when he works and a peer that finally sustains him. One has to keep being deeply self-observant. Suggesting an attitude for appreciation for feedbacks, he states that one has to practice the art of listening to feedback and pick it up from unusual sources. The writer cautions that flirting with false attractions make one lose affection for what is on hand. He further suggests that a professional should not lose contact with his work and should keep doing something for himself and should maintain a proactive attitude. Such an attitude requires thinking ahead of others. Finally, courtesy and generosity are markers of professionalism. The third part relates to basic professional qualities. These qualities make a professional to perform his responsibilities in the finest form. These first three sections of the book are the fundamental pillars on which every individual, be a doctor, engineer or a journalist must build his life’s work, indeed the basis on which he engages with others in his everyday life, enabling one to successfully deal with two things volume of work and complexity.
In part IV, the writer tries to analyse as to how one can manage volume. This is specially important for those who have achieved or are on the way to achieve mid-management positions. Vision and values are the two most important things in this regard. Ones capacity to deal with increasing volume of
professional load is directly linked to the size of our vision and how we relate it to our values. Along with the power of vision, higher degree of commitment and intent listening are the two most important things, a professional has to keep in mind. Keeping human beings first and foremost in his mind, a professional must be empathetic, be able to look at another person a human being, respect the other person irrespective if the state in which they appear- a motionless patient, a demanding client or simply a harried customer. It is not enough to have best skilled people on the job, one must respect life and living things.
From managing volume, the writer shifts to managing complexity; because as a professional reaches the next higher phase, it is the ability that separates the best from the rest. This is the professional quality, the senior managers and top management require to deal with complex situations and problems, both at work and in their personal lives. One has to understand how the decision maker’s mind that makes the critical choices in different moments work. To begin with, the writer is of the view that the professional in the twenty-first century must learn to use both sides of the brain, to harmonise both facts and feelings in the decision making process. The best professionals operate at the existential level where it is about building the capacity to engage with people, problems, processes and opportunities by creeping into the minds of the customers. Human mind is the depository of nine intelligences: one can be master of many minds by using our multiple intelligences. He makes a mention of five minds which are: The minds of discipline, synthesis, creativity, respectfulness and ethics. To understand the customer’s needs and thereby creating a process of continuous improvement, critical questioning is of utmost importance for every quality journey. From the writer’s point of view the manner in which one manages himself and deal with personal tragedy determines how one will grow as a professional but cautions allowing personal problems to drown professional obligations is like burning the shelter from which one has a chance to grow again after the storm has passed.
In the sixth chapter, the writer cautions the professionals to be more aware of gender issues while dealing with colleagues, customers and suppliers as at present there is an increasing emphasis on education and social acceptance of women at work. In the changing work environment, professionals must learn to treat them as professional colleagues and not as object of desire. Whenever, adult human beings work and meet, there is bound to be mutual attraction but every professional must know when consensus stops and harassment begins. Touching the cross culture sensitivity, the writer further suggests that in the present day increasingly global world, the professional should learn cross culture nuances as it is very much essential while dealing with customers, suppliers and other collaborators who are quite new to each other. Along with this, the new world requires every professional to understand the basics of intellectual property rights.
The writer in the last chapter describes what it means to be a professional’s professional. He has ranked top ten attributes of a professional, the most important being integrity, commitment and ownership, action oriented and goal seeking, positive attitude, thought leadership and some other such qualities. To conclude, the writer in this book gives us his knowledge based on his life long experience of what it takes to be a professional and what qualities one needs to become a great professional and what are the challenges of the future a professional must be prepared for.
11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110017, India
By Prof KD Sharma