How to Develop a Strong Work Ethic
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How to Develop a Strong Work Ethic

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

By Melissa Nieber, Career Development Coordinator

“What is work ethic?”

We are always told that we need to have a good one, but what does it really mean, and most importantly how do we get one? Work ethic is defined as a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. These values include, but are not limited to:

  • Reliability
  • Determination
  • Cooperation
  • Productivity
  • Honesty
  • Good Character

Possessing these qualities would have many employers lining up outside your door to have you as a part of their team. The question is, “How does someone develop a strong work ethic?” Is it something that can be taught, learned from experience, or does it come from within?

This month, we decided to have some fun and poll the CLE Denver staff and students. I asked my participants to choose “The Best Way to Develop A Strong Work Ethic” from a list of 8 different ideas. Check out what I discovered:

What Does It Take To Develop A Strong Work Ethic?

motive for strong work ethic

  • Intrinsic motivation

  • Practice, practice, practice

  • Rewarded for positive work behavior

  • Modeling other’s strong work ethic behavior

  • Experience consequences for poor work behavior

According to our poll, it is clear that it is important for individuals to want to work hard and value work for themselves. Individuals need to find purpose and meaning in what they do, be involved in challenging and stimulating work, as well as feel competent and successful in their actions. We can also learn desirable work behaviors from having parents, friends, educators, and co-workers who speak positively about work and model the values associated with having a strong work ethic. Additionally, as we are recognized for our accomplishments and learn from our mistakes, we begin to discover quickly what works for us. These pieces are all part of the journey to developing a strong work ethic.

Here are a few hints and words of wisdom to get a jumpstart on strengthening your work ethic:

Developing work ethic

Be punctual. Being on time is important not only for others, but for yourself. Showing up late immediately puts you behind.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Have a “Do It Now” attitude. Fight the urges to procrastinate and putting it off for tomorrow.

“Character is what emerges from all the little things you were too busy to do yesterday, but did anyway.”
~Mignon McLaughlin

Make it a habit to never give up. Even when things get tough, the energy you put into something will pay off.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
~Mohandas Gandhi

Take responsibility for your actions. You have the control over what you do; there is no need to blame others for your mistakes.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

Ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask questions and gain a better understanding for what you do not know.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
~Albert Einstein

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