For the sake simplicity…let’s use the following as definitions of these 2 words:
PROFESSIONAL: A person engaged or qualified in a profession…someone intentional about their craft that is constantly learning and improving.
AMATEUR: One who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession.
Those are pretty broad…so allow me to add some observances.
As a college student trying to master my craft, trumpet performance, I had a very wise teacher tell me the following:
“Amateurs and professionals both make mistakes. What differentiates them is that a professional does not make the same mistake twice.”
Since that time, as I have lead people, organizations, projects and yes, myself, I have seen another stark difference:
Professionals accept responsibility…accept “blame” and rebuke. Learn. Collaborate. Improve.
Amateurs on the other hand make excuses. Shift blame. Avoid responsibility.
It is too common in business, leadership, church, etc. that someone is being “paid” for their profession…which automatically qualifies them to be classified a “professional.” HOWEVER…their actions, deliverables, mindset, etc. is more akin to that of an amateur.
As a final observation, I have found that this differentiation is more of a mindset in lieu of a compensation or “title” issued (I could go on for days on how titles are meaningless if the role performed is not congruent with the title).
I have seen professionally minded people that were volunteers at church…the difference is not about what you get paid. In fact the more a person is compensated monetarily, there is a likelihood of entitlement and complacency…with is not professional.
As you look at your team, are you filling seats with professionals…or something less?
Be INTENTIONAL. Be PROFESSIONAL.