A strong work ethic is the blueprint for building a reliable work foundation. A work ethic isn’t just about clocking in and out, though — it’s about having a deep commitment to performing your tasks well.

So, what is the term, exactly? A work ethic refers to the set of values, attitudes and principles that guide an individual’s approach and dedication to their work. Having a good work ethic means you’re committed to doing your job well and going the extra mile. It means you consistently put forth effort, show up for work, and strive for excellence. It often involves going above and beyond basic requirements to achieve personal and organizational goals. The good news is that everyone can build a work ethic with commitment and hard work.

Here are the traits of a good work ethic: 

  1. Reliability: When you commit to a task or promise, following through is non-negotiable. If colleagues and supervisors can count on you to deliver on your commitments, you will build a foundation of trust. Being dependable establishes you as a reliable team player and boosts your professional reputation.
  2. Discipline: This is the ability to stay focused and consistent in your efforts even when you don’t feel like it. Discipline ensures you remain committed to your responsibilities even when challenges arise, leading to increased productivity and better outcomes.
  3. Accountability: Acknowledging your actions, both successes and failures, demonstrates maturity and ownership. A strong work ethic involves taking responsibility for your decisions and their consequences.
  4. Values-Driven: A work ethic deeply rooted in your values is a compass for your actions. When your values are integrated into your work, you are more likely to feel a sense of fulfillment and drive, translating into higher-quality outcomes and a more satisfying career journey.
  5. Taking Pride in Your Work: Approaching every task with dedication and enthusiasm speaks volumes about your work ethic. Taking pride in your work signifies that you are committed to delivering your best.


  1. Why do you think having a good work ethic helps people succeed?
  2. List three values you have. How do these values affect your work ethic and help you do a great job? 
  3. Think of someone who has a great work ethic. How did this attribute help this person succeed?