Professionalism When Tempers Flare
One of the most important characteristics you can demonstrate daily that leaves a significant and positive impression on those you interact with is professionalism. The ability to show thoughtfulness, engagement, and open consideration to important matters without allowing emotion to overcome your decision process speaks volumes about your character and your dedication to making sound decisions. Professionalism is a skill developed over time and is the result of daily practice that requires mental discipline. It’s not easy to maintain in every circumstance, but choosing to be professional is something that everyone can do. It is obvious when you see it and painfully obvious when it is absent.
The Audiology Patient Choice Act (APCA) has proven to be a controversial issue recently, resulting in some serious divisions in the profession about how to move forward. I’m sure most of you have followed the dialogue on social media forums and are aware of the level of emotion contained in many of those exchanges. There are many passionate professionals both in support of and in opposition to the proposed legislation, with valid points on both sides of the aisle. I am a passionate person by nature and I encourage it in others, up until the point it clouds your judgement and overcomes your professional process. When your passion about an issue leads you to a point where you are engaged in personal attacks, pounding the table, and no longer acknowledging the oppositional points, you must realize that your professionalism has taken a back seat. Oftentimes, it is difficult to be aware when this happens in the moment, as drive and focus are important to success, but there is a fine line you can cross and may not realize until after the fact.
Regardless of your opinion on APCA, you should realize if the path moving forward was clear and easy to see, it would have already been taken. No one can see the future; you use the best information you have at the present to speculate as to how the future will unfold. It’s a lot like gambling or the stock market. You decide your move based on what you think you know, realizing that the result may not be what you expected. There is no Magic 8-Ball or secret formula to give you positive edge, no wiseman on a mountain top whispering the key to success. It’s just us, all looking at the same information, and debating which way we should go. If someone doesn’t agree with you after you have shared your opinion, yelling at them will not change their mind. Neither will berating them and attacking them personally make them reconsider their position. Sometimes professionals can’t agree, and consensus is not achieved. Lack of agreement occurs often, and in every profession, but when it does, how you react says a lot about you and your professionalism. Strive to be the professional you want to be remembered as, and work toward that every day.