In every job you hold throughout your professional life, you must always keep and leave an impression of being a worker with strong work ethics.
This is something that will help employers, coworkers and supervisors think of you positively even if nothing else in your record stand out as exceptional.
So how could you develop habits and behaviors that demonstrate your work ethic? The answer is to do everything at your best abilities and try hard. You also should maintain punctuality, high standards and respect even at times when things are not going your way.
Here are a few areas that can give your professional image an immediate boost.
Many people think of punctuality as showing up and leaving on time. Although keeping a regular and predictable schedule is important, it is also critical to demonstrate punctuality in everything you do.
Meeting deadlines, starting and ending meetings on time, not extending lunch breaks, and being conscious of others’ time are all essential to demonstrate your sense of punctuality.
People will come to expect your patterns, and form their opinions and impressions accordingly.
While being the last to join a meeting may not hurt you, it gives an impression of someone who is less than motivated — certainly not a leader material is a person who is unable to keep track of commitments.
Missing deadlines can be more detrimental to your current job and future references. Based on how much damage your missed deadline would cause, interruption of work flow and wasting others’ efforts in meeting the deadline will earn an unfavorable spot.
It also could translate into disciplinary action, which could live on your record.
Your employer certainly has expectations and standards that you must met, but is also your duty to hold yourself to high standards even when no one is reviewing your work. If you allow yourself to compromise and lower the bar, you’d be taking the first step on a slippery slop that will eventually lead you to be associated with lower performance.
If the status quo is allowing for mediocre performance and low productivity to go unnoticed, remember two things.
First, this situation might change with a new management or a change of procedures and when this happens you don’t want to be the one associated with the unfavorable past.
Second, your work with any employer is temporary. Cruising along and producing to the barely acceptable minimum would eventually come to haunt you as you will miss out on improving yourself and honing your skills.
Finally, even in places where standards are lower than average, there are typically people who lobby for raising the bar. You need to be in and with this group. Your efforts will be seen as inspired by integrity, loyalty and consciousness.
Giving credit and taking responsibility
A person with a strong work ethic does give credit to others — coworkers and supervisors — when due. Make it a habit to mention names of those who contributed on a project that you’re presenting.
Even an idea that is not yours should be attributed to whoever came up with it. In particular, if you are a team leader, mention the contributions of your team members, acknowledge their efforts and communicate their individual strengths.
Doing so doesn’t hurt you or degrade your own efforts. In fact, it demonstrates your ability to recognize others.
You also must take responsibility for your mistakes as well as mistakes done by your team members. Shrugging errors as insignificant is irresponsible and doesn’t show integrity.
Instead, take responsibility, deal with the consequences and professionally handle any fallout.
People remember coworkers and leaders for when they have got their back, given them credit or handled a crisis on their behalf. So be someone to be remembered for doing the right things even when things were tough.