What are the six distinct traits of professionalism?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The description of "six distinct traits of professionalism" can vary depending upon one's source. One set of traits—as described by the Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society for the Human Sciences (KON)—first addresses traits as categories of human competencies, then enumerates detailed definitions of sub-traits. The six distinct traits described by KON are ethical behavior, altruistic attitudes, responsible conduct, theoretical foundations, intellectual development, and committed convictions, skills and knowledge competence. To quote KON's description of a "professional style," the six characteristics are stated as:

Six Characteristics of Professional Style:
Competence is a Given!

Other sources describe similar traits as being definitive of professionalism, having some overlap with and some distinctiveness from the KON list. For instance, the Business Management Daily (BMD) describes the six characteristics of professionalism as having commitment; being well-spoken, with correct and appropriate language; leaving life drama at home, away from work; being well- and appropriately- groomed and tidy; being civil to co-workers and eschewing incivility; and being scrupulously honest and ethical.

BMD's description of trait details (drawn from the work of management expert Dan McCarthy) fits as sub-traits within KON's description of the traits of professionalism in this order: committed convictions, intellectual development, responsible conduct (twice), altruistic attitudes with responsible conduct, and ethical behavior (theoretical foundations and skills and knowledge competence aren't included in BMD's McCarthy description of the traits of professionalism).