Leadership Within Professions

I want to talk to you today about the unique requirements of leading within a profession. Now when we talk about professions, there are certain things that sociologists tell us that make “professions” different from “career paths”.  

What are those?

 ·     Perform unique, essential services to society.

·     Possess a high degree of technical knowledge and are responsible for its development while a member or custodian of the profession. 

·     Operate under public trust. Society gives the profession a certain amount of autonomy over the rules and what a person has to do in order to join a profession. What constitutes a violation of the norms of the profession, which would require them to be removed from the profession. 

·     Have a high degree of moral character. They have to be inspired more by the intrinsic as opposed to the extrinsic rewards offered to them while working in the profession. 

If that is the background, what specifically are those professions? 

1.    Medical field: doctors, nurses, EMT, etc. 

2.    Clergy

3.    Educators: K-12, undergraduate, graduate, as well as administrators who support that

4.    Military

5.    Law enforcement: lawyers, judges, cops, etc.


What are the unique requirements for leading in a profession? 

·     Acquiring, transmitting, creating, & adapting, professional knowledge

·     Establishing & maintaining standards

·     Mentoring incoming members


Those who are members of a profession have to always remember—particularly those who are thrust into being leaders in a profession.

·     It’s not about you! It’s about the client and society. Teachers are dedicated to their classrooms, military to society in general, lawyers to their clients, theologians to their flock. 

·     If confronted by a challenge, always choose character over competence. 

·     Seek a mentor as you grow and enter a career.

·     Lastly, and perhaps most importantly—renew and grow in your calling. As you join one of those professions realize that you are certainly on a path of lifelong learning. You must continue to renew and grow throughout that particular career. 

It’s a sobering fact and important to remind yourself if you’re a professional that in many ways you hold the fate of your fellow citizens, if not society as a whole, in your hands. 

We want to hear from YOU! What else do leaders of a profession have to remember? Share your comments below.