Establishing and maintaining a personal professional reputation is crucial to success. Becoming a professional is not a destination; it is a way of life. Although living a professional lifestyle affects all facets of life, the guidelines below specifically address personal professionalism as it plays out in the business aviation environment.

The NBAA Safety Committee has identified six traits of personal professionalism as a starting point for those who want to improve their own performance: character, attitude, engagement, competency in vocational skill, image and continuous improvement. The following sections will be continually refined and improved upon as the committee receives feedback from peers and as new research comes to light. These attributes are in parallel to and complement organizational professionalism characteristics.

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Six Traits of Personal Professionalism


  • Integrity – Demonstrating uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; doing what you say day in and day out.
  • Honesty – Free of fraud or deception.
  • Truthfulness – Representing fact and actuality.
  • Forthrightness – Choosing to be honest and direct. Deciding to provide answers or information in a very clear and direct way.
  • Responsibility – Ablility to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required. Accept responsibility for your performance and behaviors.
  • Diligence – Earnest and energetic effort; always strive to perform an honest day’s work and help others to do so as well.
  • Ethics – All activities are deliberate and in full compliance with moral, government, industry and company standards, and projecting your professional image.
  • Mentoring – Sharing information and knowledge, plus encouraging others to engage in new and/or educational opportunities so they may become more competent.


  • Service Mentality – The core concept of serving others to a common end.
  • Responsibility – Utilizing your skills and time appropriately to help others when it will allow them to be more productive in other areas. Practicing accountability for your performance and that of others, knowing there is always room for improvement.
  • Determination – Continuously working to achieve your goals.
  • Initiative – Taking action when appropriate to improve your performance and the performance of the industry.
  • Team Player – Ability to work with, listen to, and provide help to others on your team or in your industry who are working toward the same goal.


  • Performance – Perform every task the best way you know how, even if it means having someone else do the job.
  • Improvement – Strive for continual improvement; be sure you are on track by solving the correct problem; actively seeking resources to perform better.
  • Participation – Actively participate in professional organizations that will improve your knowledge and performance.
  • Volunteering – Participate in your organization’s or industry’s programs that might be outside of your normal duties or skill set to achieve an enriching outcome.
  • Feedback – Continuously provide your knowledge and expertise to your organization and the industry as a whole, and request the same from your peers. View the industry reporting systems as vital and required to improve performance.
  • Partnership – Look outside your immediate network to find new peers, resources and strategies for improvement.

Competency in Vocational Skill

  • Skill – The ability to do something with competency that comes from training, experience or practice.
  • Expertise – The ability to apply what is learned from experience to do something that exceds the minimum requirements and anticipates negative influences in order to minimize the negative effects and maximize a positive outcome.
  • Training – Being properly trained is a product of motivation, resource, commitment and determination with recent and relevant review and practice.
  • Performance – Doing a job or an activity correctly.
  • Personal Effectiveness – How your efforts provide the desired outcome.
  • Good Communication – Being able to effectively convey concepts to others.


  • Maturity – Having and showing the mental and emotional qualities of a responsible adult; dressing appropriately and within the standards of your profession.
  • Etiquette – An outward bearing and a way of speaking to and treating others in a socially correct manner; treating others as you would want to be treated.
  • Loyalty – Showing continuous allegiance and respect to relatives, friends, coworkers, peers and customers.
  • Respect – Respecting authority and others in your industry; giving and requiring the respect that is deserved.
  • Discretion – Establishing confidences and maintaining confidentiality where needed.
  • Excellence – Providing a high level of routine performance so that others know they can depend on you.

Continuous Improvement

  • Culture – A fair and just safety culture allows for tolerance and understanding of safety events. The events themselves are primarily analyzed and causes are identified before personal performance is evaluated.
  • Management – Supporting, using and promoting safety management system concepts to engage your team in the practices of excellence and continuous improvement.
  • Education – Providing yourself and your peers with knowledge, resources and opportunities for improvement so that everyone will benefit.
  • Debriefing – Performing routine self-debriefs and evaluations of your performance, as well as that of your peers, in an effort to find new ways to improve.
  • Resiliency – Not succumbing to small bouts of poor performance or letting those instances define you; considering setbacks or mistakes as learning opportunities for major improvement.