What does it mean to be professional?
| August 09, 2016
There are a variety of ways to define what it means to be professional, and no doubt much has been written on that very topic. As I looked into it this morning, I think one of the Merriam Webster dictionary definitions sums it up best for me:
1 c (1)—characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession
(2)—exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
Notice that this specific definition of professional doesn’t include making a certain amount of money or possessing a certain degree of higher education. Simply put, I’d say it relates to the behaviour of an individual. The first half of the definition refers to following the standards, but the second half isn’t quite as black and white.
That grey area—the “behaviour”—matters immensely to our industry; to the reputation of our industry.
It’s likely there are very few people who haven’t read something in the past few months that casts a negative light on licensees or on the real estate industry in general.
As a real estate professional, does the negative press bother you? Reputation is everything in this business. Do you ever consider what your reputation is, and what it means for the reputation of the industry as a whole?
Is it professional to do something just because there isn’t a rule explicitly against it?
Is it professional when you do everything you can to find loopholes in existing rules?
Do you ever ask yourself, what would a professional do?
In a recent story out of B.C., two B.C. licensees sent a sympathy card to a man who had just lost his wife to offer their services for his real estate needs. Is there anything prohibiting from doing such a thing? No. Should they have tried to drum up business while a man was mourning the recent passing of his wife? Well, I guess that’s up to the collective opinions of the general public, buyers and sellers, consumers, the grieving widower, and their fellow real estate professionals.
RECA encourages real estate professionals to think outside the box in their marketing, to try something new and innovative—but in addition to ensuring it doesn’t breach any rules, take some extra time to consider how it could look to an outsider. Is it professional? Is it the image of yourself you want to portray? Is it the image of your industry that you want to portray?
Alberta’s real estate professionals are part of a self-regulating industry and that comes with significant responsibilities. It’s in your hands to help ensure it remains this way. Go the extra mile in the service you provide to consumers, but also in the work you do to attract consumers. Go above and beyond what the rules require of you and be professional in everything you do.