What makes a professional?

31st August 2018

P4 tim balcon

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Engagement


Carl Brooks

There isn’t a universally agreed definition of what ‘being professional’ really means.

That’s probably because the mix of traits that express professionalism varies depending on where you live in the world, your generation, even the industry you work in. Personally, I think it’s a much bigger deal than your technical capabilities or how you present yourself. For me, being a professional is the sum of your knowledge, skills and values.

Our values speak volumes about how we work, our approach to our responsibilities and managing relationships – much more than qualifications or job titles could ever do. It’s also our values that can drive us toward a particular occupation. It’s fair to say that many of us came into this profession because we share a belief about what is important.

Our work crosses projects, sectors, and even oceans, which means constants can be difficult to find. So if our values and ethics can be that essential point of consistency, we won’t go far wrong. Acting in accordance with our values is the difference between those who say they are a professional, and those who behave like they are. When we – all 14,500 of us – exhibit our high standards of behaviour, the impact of that aggregated demonstration is a force to be reckoned with. And at a time when IEMA is on course to become a Chartered body, it’s even more essential that each one of us is able to confidently stand up and say “this is what I stand for”.

We will be talking about values, ethics and professionalism throughout the whole of September, our first ‘Month of Professional Conduct in Focus’. While this is always a vital theme, it’s important we have a prompt to debate and challenge the issues of trust and professional behaviour. This month is our focal point to do just that; a nudge to get together to talk about professional ethics.

As part of this focus, we are asking you to sign up to your refreshed Code of Professional Conduct. After many months of review, the new set of commitments is now live. Signing up to the code – as I have done – is your demonstration that ethics are central to how you work. You can find out more about the issue of professional conduct and your new Code over the following pages, and across a whole range of activity this month. I hope you’ll get involved. #IClickedTheCode


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close