Career Advice

14 Examples of Good Work Ethic To Excel At Work

Feeling stagnant in your career? It could be due to a lack of understanding of what constitutes a good work ethic. The difference between being stuck and climbing the corporate ladder often lies in one’s work ethic.

Imagine the frustration of seeing colleagues advance while you remain static, despite your hard work. It’s disheartening, but the issue might not be with your efforts, but rather, how you’re applying them.

Our article dives into the world of work ethics, explaining “what are work ethics?”, and “why is work ethics important?”, offering clear examples of both good and bad work ethics. Recognizing these elements in your own behavior could be the game-changer, enabling you to realign your actions for greater career growth. Let’s grab a seat and hold on for the ride!

What Are Work Ethics?

The term “work ethics” is a broad phrase, but in simple terms, work ethic means the way people conduct themselves in the workplace. Ethics includes actions, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors combined.

So, what is a good work ethic? A good work ethic involves dedication, reliability, and quality output. It’s seen in employees who are passionate, consistently meet deadlines, produce top-notch results, and contribute effectively to their company’s overarching goals.

The opposite fosters lower overall morale, high turnover rates, poor production, and bad feelings.

Unfortunately, bad work ethics are becoming commonplace in numerous establishments. Michigan State University conducted a survey in 2018, which concluded that 30 percent of workers had seen or experienced misconduct at their jobs.

What’s especially alarming is that many companies didn’t do anything to eliminate the misconduct. Some establishments are trying to bring back the righteous work ethics of old, but there’s no guarantee it will happen.

14 Examples to Demonstrate Good Work Ethic

Depending on where you work, you may or may not have seen good work ethics. You can consider many things as good work ethics examples, but these are a few of the most common traits:

1. Punctuality

work ethics example

Employers create schedules because they need their workers at a certain time. Therefore, managing your time wisely is a great way to show your bosses that you care about meeting their needs and can complete tasks on time.

Being a timely person shows them that you are reliable, and they can count on you to take care of their customers or properties during the most crucial times.

Sometimes, life happens and gets in the way. Thus, you may get stuck in the middle of a traffic jam or have an emergency, but your overall attendance will be well above average if you practice good work ethics.

Read More: 14 Best Employee Characteristics and How to Work on Them

2. Following Company Guidelines

Adhering to the company’s guidelines is another part of positive work ethics. Businesses take the time to craft clear rules and practices that protect their image and foundation. By following the content in the manual, you do your part and add to the business’s integrity.

3. Respecting Other Workers

Human beings deserve to have other people engage them with respect. It’s true for every outlet they frequent, including the workplace. Being respectful is talking to your coworkers and managers with professionalism and not trying to undermine their confidence, self-esteem, or sense of belonging.

Read More: 80 Inspiring Working Women Quotes to Fuel Your Ambition (With Images)

4. Engaging in Teamwork

Teamwork is when you get together with your coworkers to reach a common goal. You play on the same team as them, so to speak, instead of being divided. In doing so, you approach all of the company’s goals and projects with a powerfully united force that wins.

5. Helping Your Fellow Teammates

Being a great team player is also one of common traits of an employee who has a strong work ethic. An ethical worker will go above and beyond the call of duty to team up with coworkers on various projects. They will put their differences aside to get through rushes, holidays, and other challenging situations.

Furthermore, they will stop to assist someone who’s struggling or unfamiliar with the workplace. Highly ethical employees want to help their coworkers succeed because it will bring a positive outcome for the entire company. 

Read More: 22 Tell-Tale Signs an Employee Is Not a Team Player

6. Maintaining Your Professionalism

Staying professional in all situations is a fantastic way to show your excellent work ethic. That means keeping yourself grounded during complex customer transactions and staying focused on you tasks as much as you can.

You will be challenged at times, and you’ll have to decide whether you need to maintain your composure or establish behavioral boundaries. It’s usually best to stay calm, even when your coworkers or bosses strive to sow discord.

7. Thinking Outside the Box

work ethics example

Being innovative is one more way you can practice positive work ethics. In other words, you need to think outside the box and find efficient ways to do your tasks sometimes. Your employer will be pleased with your innovations if they improve a process or bring additional profits.

Read More: Let Your Creativity Flow: Innovative Ideas in Work Worth Trying

8. Taking on New Challenges

The desire to continuously learn and grow is a sign of an excellent work ethic. Always seeking further knowledge conveys a message that you want to grow with the company and your career.

9. Having an Enthusiastic Outlook

Being excited about each day of work and everything it has in store for you is a sign of a positive work ethic. It means you’re hungry for new challenges and ready to conquer all obstacles.

10. Striving for Excellence

Highly ethical workers strive for excellence at all times. They do not take pride in mediocre work or give halfway performances.

11. Adapting To Changes

All jobs require some level of adaptation. Versatile workers are the most sought because they know how to shift rapidly to meet the business’s needs.

12. Exercising Accountability

Taking responsibility for your mistakes and admitting less-than-stellar behaviors is one way to exercise accountability, and it’s a mark of a good work ethic. Mistakes are great tools for learning, and handling situations poorly can help you see where you need fine-tuning.

13. Wanting to Do Your Tasks Right

Wanting to perform all of your tasks to the company’s standards is a surefire sign of a good work ethic, and adhering to company policies is the same.

14. Self-Discipline

A key trait underpinning a good work ethic is self-discipline. It’s the foundation for reliability, dependability, and productivity. Despite life’s ups and downs, maintaining self-discipline positively contributes to the overall company culture, promoting professionalism and respect.

Read More: 10 Signs You Take Your Job Too Seriously and How to Fix It

Examples and Signs of Poor Work Ethic

Since this piece covers examples of good and bad work ethics, let’s look at the polar opposite of good ones. These are some actions that defy the principles of ethics altogether:

1. Disrespecting the Schedule

work ethics example

Many workers do not care about the schedules their managers make for them and never show up on time. These individuals strain the business and staff by coming in late, calling out, missing deadline and not doing much work while they’re there.

Many times, workers lash out at timely workers so they’ll conform to their poor work ethics. You should not feel pressured to do so. Instead, continue to come to work on time if you enjoy being prompt.

2. Doing Your Job Halfway

Each task should be done with the highest level of quality and pride. Doing anything less shows a lack of respect and only a partial commitment. Always sacrifice speed for quality and not the other way around. You will develop your speed as you gain more experience performing the tasks.

3. Not Helping New or Struggling Workers

The workplace is supposed to house a team. Thus, all workers should do their best to help employees who need it. Unfortunately, many workers ignore the new employees and down-talk the struggling ones. This is a poor work ethic because it does not encourage a sense of unity.

Read More: “My Boss Won’t Train Me”: How To Overcome This Obstacle?

4. Engaging in Abusive Behavior

Verbal abuse, mobbing, sexual harassment, and sabotage are part of a collection of abusive behaviors. None of them are examples of good and bad work ethics. They are examples of horrible work ethics.

5. Being Part of the Soap Box

work ethics example

Many workers like to stand around and talk about other people in the workplace. Down talking other workers while they are present or absent from work is a form of backbiting and gossip. It breeds feelings of betrayal in the discussion targets and uncomfortableness in anyone subjected to it directly or indirectly.

Furthermore, it can cause tension between the gossip targets and innocent bystanders. Oftentimes, gossipers throw bystanders under the bus and tell the targets they were talking about them when they weren’t. Keep that in mind and clear away from such behavior.

6. Bragging About Salaries and Milestones

Nothing positive can come from discussing pay rates or tooting one’s horn about tenure. Those are personal facts that other employees may not wish to know or hear. Furthermore, the details can cause jealousy, division, and contempt. Thus, it’s a bad part of the examples of good and bad work ethics.

7.Stealing From Your Employer

Employers trust their workers not to take their property, monies, private information, or time and take advantage of them. Workers with integrity will not do it, but workers with poor work ethics will do it and excuse themselves.

8. Participating in Nepotism and Favoritism

All workers should be evaluated fairly concerning treatment, promotions, and development. Unfortunately, some managers participate in nepotism and favoritism and make decisions based on personal feelings and family ties.

Those practices are examples of poor work ethics because they makes some workers feel undervalued. Additionally, they cause resentment in others because they don’t give them a sense of unity or respect.

9. Taking Credit for Someone Else’s Work

Taking another person’s ideas and concepts and using them to one’s advantage is another example of bad ethics. Every worker should develop their own ideas and get ahead using those.

10. Sabotaging Your Coworker or Employee

Sabotaging other employees’ progress is harmful to those workers, and it births negativity and hostility in the workplace. Some employees and management staff do it out of fear and insecurity, but it’s doesn’t represent the business entity very well.

Read More: 20 Signs You Are Being Sabotaged At Work

11. Stealing Company Time

Taking extended paid breaks, leaving the property while on the clock, and having other people clock in a worker in are examples of stealing company time. Not only is it bad work ethics, but it’s borderline criminal activity as well.

12. Not Working at All

work ethics example

Calling out of work frequently is an example of poor work ethics because it shows a lack of respect for the employer and their clients. Call-outs should only be done if you are sick or experiencing an emergency. You should try your best to call within the recommended time frames as well.

Now you know some examples of good and bad work ethics. Take those examples of good and bad work ethics to heart and capitalize off them. Use the information to become a rock star at your job, and don’t let anyone convince you not to keep your ethics strong at all times.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How can job candidates demonstrate a strong work ethic during an interview?

    Candidates can provide examples of good work ethic, such as prioritizing tasks, putting in extra effort, and following through on promises. They can also discuss their work habits and personal best practices.

  • What are some work ethic traits that hiring managers look for in candidates?

    Hiring managers look for candidates who are self-disciplined, have a positive outlook, and are committed to high-quality work. They also value people who persevere, work seriously, and are willing to put in extra effort.

  • What are some examples of work ethic that can add value to the company?

    Examples of strong work ethic that can add value to the company include employees who consistently produce high-quality work, those who are self-disciplined and prioritize tasks, and those who are willing to put in extra hours to get things done.

  • How can employees with a strong work ethic contribute to a positive work environment?

    Employees with a strong work ethic can contribute to a positive work environment by setting an example for others, demonstrating professionalism, and showing a willingness to collaborate and help others.

  • What are some examples of bad work ethic that can hurt a company?

    Examples of bad work ethic include unprofessional behavior, lack of commitment, and failure to follow through on promises. These behaviors can damage the company’s reputation and cause problems for other employees.

  • How can employees develop and maintain a strong work ethic?

    Employees can develop and maintain a strong work ethic by setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and holding themselves accountable. They can also seek feedback from others and continuously strive to improve their work habits.

  • How can employees demonstrate a strong work ethic without sacrificing work-life balance?

    Employees can demonstrate a strong work ethic by prioritizing tasks and managing their time effectively. They can also communicate with their managers about their workload and seek support when needed.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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