Tips To Demonstrate Work Ethic

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 31 December 2022

Published 15 January 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

While “work ethic” can be defined in many ways, it is a concept that involves having various workplace skills, including dedication and responsibility. Doing your job with a strong work ethic can help you perform tasks better, form stronger relationships with colleagues and develop a positive image for future promotions.

In this article, we will take a closer look at what work ethic is, why it’s important and how you can improve and demonstrate it at work.

Related: What Are Ethics at Work? (Plus 13 Examples of Work Ethics)

What is work ethic?

Work ethic combines several moral principles based on the idea that hard work is fundamentally valuable and worth pursuing. If you have a strong work ethic, you likely possess other traits such as dependability, respectfulness, productivity and collaboration. For example, if you find work important and worthy of your best efforts, you will show up for work on time and complete tasks by their due date. You can demonstrate a strong work ethic in many ways, but this is mostly done by paying attention to small things throughout the day, like punctuality or communicating well.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Professionalism

Why is work ethic important?

Having and demonstrating a strong work ethic is important because it can help you quickly achieve career goals. When you possess these skills, you will likely perform quality work, have strong relationships with colleagues and work towards achieving important tasks that add value to your organisation. These accomplishments will lead to favourable reviews at work, along with strong references and recommendations. Showing that you are a reliable employee can also lead to more responsibilities and opportunities—for example, work ethic is necessary for leadership roles.

These factors can lead to better chances at a raise or promotion and accomplishing major long and short-term career goals. Displaying a strong work ethic can result in you being seen as a highly valuable team member who can lead to beneficial advances in your career, such as a raise, promotion or management position.

Related: What Makes a Good Manager? 11 Qualities and 5 Skill Examples

Work ethic skills

Several qualities contribute to having a strong work ethic. Here are just a few key skills that can help you improve your work:

  • Accountability
    Having accountability means you can manage your own work well without much oversight. If you are accountable, you will be seen as a reliable team member who is responsible and contributes well to a task or project.

  • Discipline
    Having discipline means you can focus and complete tasks no matter the circumstances. Managing your time well is a key component of practising discipline.

  • Honesty
    Being truthful at work is valuable because it can help tasks to be completed more quickly and in a quality way. Practise honesty when giving feedback, sharing project ideas and when you have made a mistake. Owning and improving upon your mistakes at work shows that you are willing to take risks and learn from them.

  • Humility
    Being humble means having a healthy perspective of your own importance in the workplace. This does not mean you should have a negative or low view of your work or skills. Instead, it means that you prioritise listening to others, share your own ideas when they will be valuable and are honest about your wins and areas of improvement.

  • Integrity
    Integrity is defined as always doing the right thing, no matter who is watching. Practising integrity results in gaining the trust of those around you.

  • Organisation
    Being well-organised can help you get tasks done on time, communicate clearly with others and set proper expectations about your work. You might keep workspaces like your desk, computer, calendar, and notes organised.

  • Quality work
    While it is crucial to turn your work in on time, it is also important to be done well and meet all requirements. If you consistently complete work that needs revisions and leads to more time and effort, you may not be considered as having a strong work ethic.

  • Responsibility
    Being responsible at work is a general quality that results in your work being done well and on time. It also means that you are good at communicating with those around you. Responsible people know what is expected of them and deliver on those expectations.

  • Teamwork
    Working well with others is a key component of work ethic. This involves respecting those around you, and practising proper communication skills and empathy, so you understand how to interact best with each individual you work with. This will allow you to easily work alongside a team towards a common goal.

  • Time management
    Managing your time well can help you meet deadlines, set appointments or meetings and communicate proper expectations about your schedule. Being punctual at work when you arrive every day and when you have meetings is also important.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to demonstrate and improve your work ethic

Demonstrating your work ethic often means doing small things each day that make you a better teammate to your colleagues, clients and managers. Here are several tips you might consider when improving your work ethic:

  • Minimise distractions. To demonstrate your discipline, it can be helpful to put away things that might hinder or distract from your work. For example, if you check your cell phone regularly, it could be beneficial to put it away in your desk drawer.

  • Set goals. It can be helpful to focus on improving one or two work ethic qualities simultaneously. To do so, ask trusted colleagues or mentors to help you identify areas for improvement. Start with these areas and apply the SMART goal framework for specific, measurable goals. You might also consider setting OKRs with your team, making your work more focused and goal-oriented.

  • Take notice of how you spend your time. During a workweek, pay close attention to what takes up your time. For example, you might notice that you tend to get on social media sites in the afternoon. While sometimes taking a short break can be helpful and lead to more productivity, you should be mindful of being distracted for long periods of time.

  • Stay organised. Take time to organise your notes, email inbox, desk and other workspaces. This can help keep you focused and create a more relaxing workday. It can also contribute to better time management skills.

  • Practise balance. To have and maintain a strong work ethic, you must take breaks and have a healthy work/life balance. Working until you are burned out can decrease productivity and reduce your work ethic. Take regular time off and schedule breaks throughout your workday for improved productivity.

  • Believe in what you’re working on. Feeling excited about your company’s mission, work, or other aspects of your job can help increase your work ethic. If you find that completing tasks in a certain way makes it more exciting for you, like collaborating with teammates, try to incorporate more of that into your workday. Look for aspects of your work that you are naturally drawn to and focus on those.

  • Manage your time wisely. Being on time and completing tasks by (or preferably before) due dates is an easy and obvious way to show work ethic. It also sets you up for success. You will be less likely to make mistakes due to rushing, and you can be more present and active during meetings when you do not feel exasperated from hurrying.

Make it a point to be at work when it is expected of you. For example, you should be available if you are expected to be at work from 9 am to 5 pm. If you cannot be working during this time, let your manager know as early as possible to demonstrate your strong work ethic and respect for your manager and colleagues’ times.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.


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