Not long ago, I overheard a comment that caught my attention.
“Professional people can work with anyone.”
And my first reaction was um…no, they can’t. But frankly, I was up against a deadline and wasn’t able to engage in this debate. So I left it alone. Then as the days passed, it kept bothering me. Because it’s not about whether a professional person can or can’t work with anyone. It’s about their willingness to do so and whether or not they should have to.
Making the statement that professional people can work with anyone is really unfair. It puts a level of expectation on them that shouldn’t exist. Like it’s a requirement for them to work with just anyone. But there are plenty of examples to the contrary:
Professional people will not and shouldn’t have to work with unethical or immoral people. As a result, professional people should not be subjected to a standard of “you’re not professional if you can’t work with anyone”.
In addition, professional people are only going to tolerate unprofessionalism and negativity for so long. They might work with it for awhile. They might even try to change it. But if that’s unsuccessful…they will move on. What you’ll have left is a bunch of people who are fine with unprofessional, unethical, immoral and negative behavior. Good luck with that.
The minute you make the assumption that professional people can work with anyone, you let the rest of the bunch off the hook. So, anyone who is unprofessional, unethical, immoral or negative can continue to be that way and the expectation will be that the professionals will happily work right alongside.
Truth is, professional people don’t want to work with just anyone. They want to work with other professional people. And they will seek out opportunities to do so. Perhaps more importantly, a professional will make every effort to avoid those who are not.
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