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Just Because You're a Doctor,  Doesn't Mean You're Professional

by Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE

If you are a physician who wants to enter new areas in business, or higher levels of leadership, it is important to always act PROFESSIONALLY.  This advice would seem unnecessary and almost trite, if it were not that so many physicians often act UN-professionally.  Your tile of MD or DO or PhD or RN does not by itself grant you “professionalism.” In order to be successful in business, management, and leadership you must exhibit the basic courtesies, dress and demeanor of an executive who can be trusted with a organization's business, money, customers, talent and teams.  

Rate yourself on well you ADHERE to the follow Professionalism DOs and and how often you AVOID the Professionalism DON'Ts

Top 15 Professionalism DOs - How well DO you adhere to this behavior:

1.    Keep meetings and appointments

2.    Arrive at meetings on time or early

3.    Listen before speaking

4.    Return phone calls within 8 hours

5.    Reply to email within 24 hours

6.    Be brief and to the point

7.    Say thank you and send thank you notes

8.    Smile and be pleasant when engaged in conversation

9.    Wear tasteful jewelry and/or watch

10.  Use professionally printed business letterhead and business cards

11.  Have a separate business phone number and business email

12.  Use proper table etiquette when eating

13.  Dress in a well-fitting business suit when meeting decision makers

14.  For men:  Keep beard and mustache neatly trimmed

15.  For women: Keep hair color and hair style "fresh"

Top 10 Professional DON’Ts - How well do you stay away from this behavior:

1.    Smoke in the presence of others or before a meeting

2.    Use foul language

3.    Make sexist or racist remarks

4.    Gossip or share confidential information

5.    Tell crude jokes, even if a supervisor does

6.    Answer or talk on your cell phone during a meeting or interview  (Just turn it off!)

7.    Wear perfume or cologne during business meetings

8.    Wear excess makeup or jewelry; jangling jewelry (women); heavy gold neck chains (men); religious symbols

9.    Express your views in a way that embarrasses another person

10.  Talk or act rudely to assistants, secretaries, receptionists or clerks

How PROFESSIONAL should you be?  Aim for a perfect score.  Even if you think some of the DO's or DON'Ts are trivial, trite or silly, try them on for a week.  I guarantee you'll feel 100% better about yourself; AND your team will notice the difference too!

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE is a business and executive coach for healthcare leaders and physicians.   She is Director of Creative Strategies in Physician Leadership and a professional speaker on healthcare leadership, innovation and change.



Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   ©2006 Ki Health, Inc.