The Importance of Having A Strong Work Ethic

Dr. Purushothaman
December 13, 2013

An independent research survey of 2,100 CFOs found that 25% felt that a poor work ethic was one of the most common reasons for an employee's failure to advance.

So what is work ethic?

Wikipedia defines it as “values based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A work ethic may include being reliable, having initiative, or pursuing new skills. Workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory should be selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion. Workers who fail to exhibit a good work ethic may be regarded as failing to provide fair value for the wage the employer is paying them and should not be promoted or placed in positions of greater responsibility.”

Let’s look at six key ideas you can use to cultivate a strong work ethic

1 Focus on problem solutions not problems.
Do not complain, whine, or criticize. Instead, try to solve problems and propose solutions. It is much better to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. Once you start doing this, people will look at you as a leader but beware - make sure your ideas are good and doable. Never just gripe or moan!

2 Be honest.
Do not continually promote yourself or take credit for a group effort or for something that you did not do. This form of dishonesty will backfire on you. Consider Charlie, who, when given a project, would delegate it to others saying that the boss wanted it done and to bring the results to him. He then took the credit for the project. One day someone went to the boss to ask about a detail and found out that he was not supposed to be working on it. Charlie was fired the next day. Take credit only if you have done the work!

3 Communicate effectively.
It is important to have good communication skills. A strong work ethic is supported by excellent verbal and written communications. It is important to know how to speak with peers, management and customers. It is important to be clear and concise in all your communications and always answer all questions completely.

4 Meet all your commitments.
Never ignore your assigned tasks. If you have any questions, ask your supervisor. If you are not making good progress or are going to miss a milestone, talk to your supervisor. You always want to make sure that all your commitments are completed on time without any loose ends. This will help establish a positive reputation and develop strong ethics.

5 Motivate yourself.
Take the initiative and act without being told. If you have completed your assigned tasks early, ask for additional work. This will always impress the boss. Just make sure that you have finished all your tasks before you ask for more.

6 Stretch your abilities.
Ask for additional responsibility. Do not wait for your boss to give you new tasks. Instead, look for other things that need to be done and take it upon yourself to ask for more authority and responsibility. And when you get it, make sure you do a great job.

All recruiters and hiring managers look for a strong work ethic in job candidates. Work ethic is regarded as a primary attribute for someone filling an open position. Once you cultivate this business soft skill, you will have a very good start to a successful career.

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