7 Elements of a Strong Work Ethic

Here are the pillars you need for personal and professional success.

learn more about Jacqueline Whitmore

By Jacqueline Whitmore • Mar 3, 2019 Originally published Mar 3, 2019

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever tried to do business with someone who didn’t seem to take pleasure in the job -- or even care? If you had the option, you probably you didn't go back to this person because you didn't like the way you were treated or lacked confidence in them.

Related: Passion Is What Unlocks Your Hustler's Work Ethic

Did you then spread the word to others about your bad experience?

This can happen to your business if people doubt your desire to provide the best service possible. Bad press or bad word of mouth can affect your bottom line and your reputation. The solution is to foster and maintain a strong work ethic in the culture of your company. A strong work ethic energizes you and your employees to face challenges head-on. It drives you to try your best and to fight to stay at the top of your game. Here are the seven key components of a rock-solid work ethic.

 

Professionalism

Being professional involves everything from how you dress and present yourself in the business world to the way you treat others. Professionalism is such a broad category, in fact, that it basically encompasses all the other elements of a strong work ethic.

Related: How to Sharpen Your Team's Professionalism Without Killing Individuality

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Respectfulness

You display grace under pressure: No matter how tight the deadline or heated the tempers, you always remain poised and diplomatic. Whether you’re serving a customer, meeting with a client or collaborating with colleagues, you do your best to respect everyone’s opinions, especially under trying circumstances. This shows you value people’s individual worth as well as their professional contributions. 

Related: 4 Ways to Immediately Earn the Respect of Those You Lead

Dependability

You can be relied on to keep your promises. You are always on time and prepared for meetings, and deliver your work on schedule and on budget. Your reputation for reliability precedes you because you’ve proven over time that customers, clients and colleagues can trust you to do everything you say you will. In an uncertain world, your customers, colleagues and clients will appreciate the stability you embody. 

Related: The 10 Unique Soft Skills Employers Desire in New Hires

Dedication

You don’t stop until the job is done, and done right. “Good enough” is not good enough for you and your team. You aim for "outstanding" in everything you do. You put in the extra hours to get things right, giving attention to detail and devotion to excellence. Your passion shows in how hard you work and the results you achieve.

Related: Lenny Kravitz Q&A 'I Don't Stop Until I Feel Like I Put My Best Effort In'

Determination

You don’t let obstacles stop you, and enthusiastically embrace challenges like a mountain climber who ascends higher and higher until the summit is reached. You know that your job as an entrepreneur is to solve your clients’ problems, and you resolve to continually seek better and more innovative answers. With purpose and resilience, you push ahead, no matter how far you have to go.

Related: 7 Keys to Developing Resilience

Accountability

You take personal responsibility for your actions and outcomes in every situation and avoid making excuses when things don’t go as planned. You admit your mistakes and use them as learning experiences so you won’t make the same ones again. You also expect your employees to meet the same high standards and support those who accept responsibility instead of blaming others.  

Related: 9 Productivity Mistakes You're Making in the First 10 Minutes of Your Day

Humility

You acknowledge everyone’s contributions, and freely share credit for accomplishments. You show gratitude to colleagues who work hard, and appreciation to your loyal clients. You have integrity in spades, and are open to learning from others, even as you teach people through your words, actions and example. And, while you always take your work seriously, you strive always to maintain a sense of humor about yourself.

Related: Business Lessons From a Refugee Turned Youngest African-American IHOP Franchisee

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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