Some professional athletes have it. Physicians have it. The best professionals do, as well. This skill allows individuals to manage their emotions and perform more efficiently. It’s called Professional Detachment.
Professional Detachment is the ability to detach from your emotions while you focus on what you are doing. It is a means of managing your thoughts and feelings to allow you to perform at a higher level. Some refer to this as “getting in the zone.” It means accepting those tasks that come your way with reason, rather than emotional involvement. Reason allows you to solve the problem at hand. Emotion merely clouds your judgment with unproductive thoughts.
Some people have this talent naturally. Others struggle with it. But it is a valuable skill to develop. Professional detachment allows you to become a true professional at what you do and can be the difference between having a job and having a career.
Professional detachment is not about suppressing all emotion while working, but rather managing your emotions to becoming more productive. Consider the employee who comes to work wishing they could be somewhere else that day. We’ve all met or worked with someone like that. They move through the day doing what needs to be done, but with a dislike for their work because they would be happier elsewhere.
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t rather have a day off?
But those who exercise professional detachment are able to isolate those feelings, find their zone, and move through their tasks with efficiency. Their emotional state does not interfere with their work.
Professional detachment also gives you the ability to rationally understand and accept your role within the organization and carry it out.
In any office or company, there are a lot of pieces of business being conducted by different people. Everyone has a different job to do to move the company forward. Often, some employees will look at what others are doing and form opinions about how they are doing that work, and its effectiveness. When these views become negative and shared with other employees, your team can begin to breakdown.
For those who practice professional detachment, others are allowed to carry out their tasks while you focus on your own. They assume that those tasks done by others are being handled correctly, until superiors say otherwise.
This is not an uncaring attitude. In fact, it is just the opposite. Professional detachment is caring enough about your job that you will focus on the only things that you can control, your attitude and your work. It is a mature attitude of accepting your role, and the roles of those around you, without feelings of being taken for granted or being looked over. A business needs team players and professional detachment allows every team player to do their job well.
Of course, the most obvious question is how does one develop professional detachment? The best answer is through practice. Be aware of your thoughts and behavior, and regulate them. When you have negative thoughts or feelings, imagine a closet or box in your mind and move them into that space. Then focus on your tasks.
We’re emotional beings, we have thoughts and opinions, and detaching from them does not always come natural. However, with a little practice, you will find that your focus will improve along with the quality of your work. When that happens, you’ll get noticed.
Professional detachment is a quality that is not often identified or talked about. Instead, it is referred to as professionalism. But business leaders know it when they see it, and often reward the people who practice it well. In fact, it is such a valued trait that businesses should consider discussing it with employees on a regular basis and help them develop it. Doing so will make their organizations more productive, and help their employees have a fuller career.
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Bob Turner is a Digital and Social Media Marketing Consultant with Social Flair.