What Makes for a Good Work Ethic?

WorkEthic3

I’ve several times made the claim that I have an old-fashioned work ethic. Lately, I’ve begun to question what that actually means. I’ve met other people who don’t seem to have a good work ethic, but when asked, they say they do. Hmmm. Is “work ethic” totally subjective? That doesn’t seem likely. So, what does make for a good work ethic?

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Further below, are ideas gathered from various sources and friends, but here’s one thing I’ve noticed over and over. If somebody comes in with a sour attitude, no matter how good they are at what they do, the attitude tarnishes everything. On the other hand, if somebody comes in with enthusiasm and a smile, and again, it may not matter how good they are at the job, they seem to have a good work ethic. So, I don’t want to go so far as to say that enthusiasm and a smile are a measurement, but maybe they are a strong hint!

I’m going to choose to be enthusiastic and smile.

Two other especially strong thoughts for me:
1. Always go beyond the minimum requirement
2. Taken from The Outward Mindset, when there’s a problem, take the attitude of “As far as I am concerned, the problem is me.” At first that one is scary. Then it becomes liberating!

Talking with some retail managers, it’s fun to hear some of the challenges.
1. Get people to just show up!
2. On time
3. Dressed right

More thoughts, “borrowed” from many others:

From QBQ newsletter:
1. HUMBLE: Self-deprecating humor, takes no credit for wins, downplays their strengths. Acknowledges it’s a “team effort.”
2. ACCOUNTABLE: Quick to own mistakes and failures with little to no blame and finger-pointing. And definitely not a whiner! (See the QBQ! book)
3. COLLABORATIVE: Don’t have all the answers, know they can’t do it alone, and open to ideas they did not generate. Shares AND listens.
4. DECISIVE: No “paralysis by analysis” here. Flexible, but not wishy-washy. Possesses opinions that are thought through.
5. ENCOURAGING: Praises people, provides positive feedback, and slow to criticize. Lifts others up with their words.

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  • Showing up to work, on time (preferably before your appointed office hours), appropriately dressed, and ready to take on the day.
  • Being present at work – different than being “on time” being present is the sense that you are doing what you can do for the company first, and for yourself second. You are thinking constantly about how to make the company better – in turn, you will be better at your job.
  • When you are at work, you are giving it your all, 110%, thinking of your colleagues and about advancing the company. Your company and colleagues are part of your extended family and you will do whatever is legal, moral and ethical to advance their careers and the cause of the company.
  • You don’t whine or gripe about tasks that have been assigned to you or ones that you have been volunteered for. You do the work with a sunny, optimistic attitude.
  • You defer to your manager’s decisions, even if in your opinion they are wrong.
  • You understand that you are an employee of the company, 24/7 – you are never really “off” the clock.
  • You are always selling your company’s product or service and you are always looking for a chance to advance your company’s product or service even if it is at a dinner party, a wedding, gas station, etc.

What other thoughts would you add for a good work ethic? Or is smile and be enthusiastic enough? And yes, I’m smiling as I ask that question!