How to Develop Strong Work Ethics: The Essential Tips for Success
You could be the most talented person in the world, but you won’t get very far if you don’t have good work ethics.
What is work ethic? This refers to one’s beliefs and behaviors towards one’s job and workplace. It also represents an employees’ work-related values and principles.
Having a strong work ethic means that you care about the quality of your work. If you care about your work and you respect your workplace, productivity will come more naturally.
It That’s probably why studies show that a strong work ethic is linked to better performance. So if you’re serious about building a successful career, you need to make sure that you have a strong work ethic.
7 Qualities of Professionals with a Great Work Ethic
Depending on the context, discipline can mean different things. But one thing is true in all contexts: discipline can help turn your goals into accomplishments.
Even within the workplace, discipline can mean different things. From an HR perspective, employee discipline can refer to how well someone abides by the company’s rules and regulations. As a work ethic quality, discipline refers to the habit of striving towards desirable outcomes.
Commitment at work means more than showing up every day. You can breakdown commitment into three layers:
- Career commitment – dedication to your professional goals and long-term plans.
- Organizational commitment – dedication to your workplace and leaders.
- Job/Role commitment – dedication to your assigned responsibilities.
When you talk about commitment and dedication, you’re also talking about how accountable and enthusiastic you feel about your career, company, and role. People with strong work ethics tend to stay in good companies for a long time because they know it takes time and commitment to achieve professional milestones such as promotions.
Someone with a strong work ethic knows how to work well with others. They also know how to prioritize collective goals and contribute towards the greater good.
Even if your role doesn’t require a lot of input from coworkers, the values of cooperation and teamwork go beyond job-related tasks and seep into the organization’s culture. If everyone in a company behaves only according to their self-interest, then nobody wins.
Cooperation goes hand-in-hand with tolerance. If you want to work well with others, you need to respect and embrace diversity in the workplace.
Differing perspectives and backgrounds don’t have to be a source of conflict. People with a good work ethic can leverage diversity as an advantage and use it to enrich workplace collaborations.
Being flexible is important because it allows you to adapt to different situations. Someone with a good work ethic can look beyond their personal preferences and comfort zones when the situation requires them.
They don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead, they move forward to get the job done even if it means taking on a new assignment or learning a new skill.
Being dependable is extremely important in any workplace. Highly skilled employees aren’t worth as much if you can’t count on them.
In many ways, being dependable is all about meeting your employers’ and colleagues’ expectations. New employees usually need to prove their dependability by consistently turning in work on time.
Being conscientious means caring about quality of work. It’s synonymous with being diligent and careful.
Conscientious people take their work and commitments very seriously. They aren’t comfortable when their work doesn’t meet their standards of excellence.
They’re often organized, detailed, and goal-oriented. This trait translates very well in the workplace. These people often take a lot of personal ownership of their work and they take a lot of pride in what they accomplish.
Integrity and honesty are some of the most underrated qualities of someone with a strong work ethic. Having a strong sense of integrity means doing the right thing—even when no one is watching.
Remember, having a strong work ethic doesn’t mean you’re the perfect employee. You’re still bound to make mistakes at some point.
If you have integrity, not only will you own up to mistakes, but you’ll also do whatever it takes to rectify them. When you have integrity, your employers and coworkers will trust you. In the long run, this will serve as the foundation of your professional credibility.
7 Ways to Develop Strong Work Ethics
1. Manage Your Time
Here are a few basic time management practices you should try to follow:
- Punctuality – Try to maintain a good attendance record. Start work and leave on time. If you can, try to finish your tasks within the allotted workday.
- Deadlines – Turn things in on time. And if you know you won’t be able to meet a deadline, communicate this as soon as you can.
- Work-life Balance – Create clear boundaries between your work and personal life. That way, you can minimize work impeding your home life (and vice-versa).
Time management is especially important if you’re dealing with clients. You need to make sure that you’re on time for meetings and you accomplish your deliverables on time.
2. Follow Company Rules
While you may feel like you don’t need the rules to keep you in check, they’re essential to maintaining order (especially in larger organizations). Understanding company policy from the get-go is a must. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time battling it out with HR.
You want your employee file to be filled with achievements and not disciplinary action reports. So take some time to read through your employee manual. When you’re able to follow company rules, you’re proving that you can be trusted with more responsibilities.
3. Dress Your Role
Different industries have different dress code norms, but it’s always a good idea to dress for success. The way you dress casts an immediate impression on your co-workers or clients.
If you have a dress code at work, make sure you follow it. When you’re dressed well and appropriately for work, people will know that you’re ready to get down to business. If you’re dressed inappropriately, it may distract people from work.
Even if you’re working from home, try to dress your role when you’re working. You don’t want to be caught off-guard when a client suddenly requests a video chat.
4. Prioritize and Set Goals
If you want to come up with high-quality work, you need to prioritize and set goals. At the beginning of each day, list down your tasks in order of importance.
Make sure your goals for the day are clear and attainable. It’s important to organize your day so that you know you’re going to get your work done.
It’s so easy to get distracted these days. It’s not uncommon for us to have multiple browsers open on our computers. However, being busy doesn’t necessarily translate to productivity.
Studies show that multitasking can impair performance. So it’s important to prioritize and focus. Try to eliminate distractions so that you can give your undivided attention to the task at hand.
5. Avoid Complaining
It’s normal to blow off some steam now and then. But complaining doesn’t really accomplish anything.
It may even be detrimental to your team’s morale. If you have a valid concern, try to be proactive about it.
Instead of complaining, offer your bosses or coworkers feedback. Good feedback doesn’t just communicate the problem, but it offers up solutions.
When you complain, you communicate your disappointment. But when you provide constructive feedback, you communicate a desire for your workplace to succeed.
6. Show Respect and Kindness
There’s no excuse to be disrespectful and unkind to anyone, especially in a professional environment. It’s easy to get caught up in emotions when you’re feeling stressed or frustrated, but it’s no reason to be rude.
Proper communication is a catalyst of respect and kindness. Here are a few communication tips:
- Manage your emotions before you speak/act. Make sure your emotions are in check before you interact with anyone.
- Listen. Allow people to say their piece before you offer any feedback.
- Be accessible. Make sure people know the best way and time to get in touch with you.
- Apologize when appropriate. Own up to your mistakes. Apologies can effectively de-escalate emotionally charged situations.
Whether you’re talking to the CEO or an intern, make sure that you’re respectful and kind towards everyone at work.
7. Get a Good Mentor
It takes years of experience to hone your work ethic and young professionals need all the help they can get. It’s easy to become stagnant if you’re on your own.
A good mentor can help provide guidance, support, and motivation. That’s why it’s important to choose an organization that can provide you with encouraging and highly-trained mentors, like The Virtual Hub.
The Virtual Hub prioritizes their employee’ professional development. They take the time to mentor, train, and equip their employees for the future.