Attitude and Work Ethic

I. Attitude in the Workplace

It may seem as if skills and experience are the most important characteristics of an employee, but attitude plays just as big of a role. After all, what good are great professional skills without the attitude to see it all through? There are five key attitudes that small businesses should seek out in employees to ensure a harmonious professional environment and a productive staff.

Respect for Others

Respect in the workplace doesn’t solely extend to the way employees interact with management. People who have self-respect don’t do managers’ biding no matter what; they think for themselves and present alternative ideas at times, but respectfully. Employees should also have a respectful attitude when interacting with clients and customers as well as co-workers. Those with this type of attitude are willing to treat other people politely and professionally, even if they disagree with the other person’s point of view.

Infectious Enthusiasm About Life

Someone who is enthusiastic about life in general radiates a positive energy that rubs off on everyone around her. She dives into every project with interest, eagerly learns new skills and ideas and quickly applies them to her work. Some people are born with positive energy, but it can also be developed. Teach your staff to approach every situation, positive or negative, as a challenge and an opportunity.

Adopt a “glass half full” attitude in the company and encourage employees to build on it. Soon they’ll extend an enthusiastic attitude toward co-workers, customers and everything they do.

Commitment to the Job

Small businesses need employees who are not only committed to the goals and initiatives that affect the bottom line, but who also are committed to their particular positions. Employees project a committed attitude by showing a willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill the duties of their positions and via the development of new ideas to make the company even better. When committed individuals work together as a team towards company goals, everyone benefits.

Innovative Ideas and Finding New Ways

Employees with an innovative attitude don’t shy away from trying something new or finding a different way to do things. Small businesses need employees who can think outside of the box and innovate new ways to accomplish existing tasks and approach goals. Employees with this type of attitude know their ideas might not work out to be the best way to do something, but that the biggest failure is not at least giving new ideas a shot.

Helpfulness with Others

It is important to have a helpful attitude at work, whether that means assisting clients and customers with their needs or helping co-workers accomplish overall company goals. The more helpful an attitude employees have, the more people want to be around them at work and the more willing they are to partner with those employees on key projects and initiatives.

II. Work Ethics


What is Work Ethic?

The work ethic is a cultural norm that advocates being personally accountable and responsible for the work
that one does and is based on a belief that work has intrinsic value. Research has shown that many
characteristics of work ethic can be summarized using three terms
1-Interpersonal skills,
2-Initiative, and
3-Being dependable.


1-Interpersonal Skills:

Include the habits, attitudes, manners, appearance, and behaviors we use around other people, which
affect how we get along with other people.
The development of interpersonal skills begins early in life and is influenced by:
*Family or parents
*Our observations of the world around us.
*Televisions & movies

How to improve our interpersonal skills?

We must first be aware of what we are like from the perspective of other people who interact with us.
Habits we are unaware of, actions we think go unnoticed, and other things about us that might affect other
people are impossible for us to change if we are not aware of them.
One of the things that teachers try to do, starting in the early grades, is to help students correct bad habits
and to develop good interpersonal skills. As we become adults, it increasingly becomes our own
responsibility to initiate any changes in interpersonal skills that might be needed.

Interpersonal Skills include the following:

 Loyalty
Loyalty to company means going to your supervisor with any problem or complaint that may arise. Part of
a supervisor’s job is to handle employee problems. Employers prefer to solve their own internal problems.
They do not want dissatisfied employees complaining about their work.
Another aspect of loyalty concerns keeping company “secrets” or (strategies) within the company .Always
keep in mind that if the company can succeed ,you will be more likely to succeed also.
You should be proud of the work your company does and the work you do for the company .If conditions
are such that you cannot feel faithfulness and allegiance to your company ,you should seek a job elsewhere

 Trustworthiness
Many cases exist when an employer or supervisor needs to be able to place an employee in a position of
trust. When the employer trusts an employee, It often means that the employer can ask the employee to
do something beyond the call of duty and expect the employee to accomplish it.
The special task could be closing up a business at the end of the day .An employer would want someone
who handles the company’s cash or keeps a tool room or supply room to be trustworthy. Each of these
situations requires that the employer trust the employee to carry out the task. When the employee
completes the task ,he or she earns the employer’s trust.

 Self-Discipline and Self –Responsibility
Being self-disciplined is a part of accepting responsibility for your own actions. We are the only ones from
whom we can steal time, talent, and accomplishment. Self-Discipline requires that you structure your time
so that you can cultivate and use your talents and abilities for the betterment of your company and you.
Self-discipline also requires that you learn to handle your emotions .You are in control of your feelings ;they
are not in control of you.

2-Being dependable:

Is one of the most highly sought after traits for workers in the modern workplace. This work ethic construct
includes honesty, reliability ,and being on time. A responsible ,dependable employee is one who agrees to
carry out a task under agreed –upon procedure.
Employees are often put in positions in which they are responsible for money, for other people’s safety,
for other people’s production ,for merchandise for money ,for customer’s goodwill…Employers are quick
to see which employees can handle positions and situations of responsibility and which employees cannot.
When you are careful to make sure that any job you are given is done well and completed on time, you will
build up your reputation for being dependable and reliable .Such work ethics are valuable to any employer.


Direct supervision is often not a feature of the modern workplace. Without initiative ,procrastination and
missed opportunities can become a real problem. Sometimes poor performance results and leads to loss
of a job, without any second chances.
Initiative has two components drive and effort. Quite often we hear commentary about how naturally
gifted someone is in sports, the arts,…..etc. Yet ,no matter how gifted someone is ,unless they work harder,
longer ,and smarter than their colleagues, they will not be the best. Being successful in the activities you
participate in dependent on your skills and your attitudes. However, the amount of drive and effort you
put in an activity could make the difference between average performance and high performance.

When employees have initiative, they are:

 Willing to take the first step in seeing that work gets done.
 They are hard workers
 They do what they are paid to do, and then more.
 They see a job or a task that needs to be done, and they do it without being asked.
 Show willingness of pitch in and help other employee in (employee illness ,overload..).

An overall attitude of helpfulness makes the organization run more smoothly and improves everyone’s
work situations.

4-Other Work Ethics :

Specific employability skills
* personal characteristics
* are drawn from all three work ethic components.

*Employability skills :
 Good communication skills
 Positive attitude
 Ability to be dependable ,punctual ,and responsible.

*Personal characteristics:
 Dressing properly
 Being polite
 Displaying self-confidence

The Top behaviors that Cause On-The –Job Difficulties:

1-Dishonesty and lying.
2-Irresponsibility ,goofing off, and attending to personal business on company time.
3-Arrogance and ego problem.
4-Absenteeism and lateness .
5-Not following instructions or ignoring company policies.
6-Complaining about the company policies.
7-Laziness and lack of motivation .
8-Lack of character ,inability to get along well with others.
9-Disrespect ,displays of anger or pettiness.
10-Making ill –informed decisions and take credit for work done by others.

Arguments for Good Work Ethics:

Why should I put in a hard days work ,day in and day out, when fellow co-workers receive the same pay
for doing less labor? What is the bonus for working as hard as possible and striving too be a model
employee ?These are a couple of the questions that today’s workers ponder. For one Michigan State
University student, Jeff Smith ,hard work always pays off. Smith worked as a salesman at JCPenney all
throughout high school .He states ,I’m sure it seems like striving to put in a honest work day doesn’t have
its obvious benefits, but mangers recognize your efforts and that makes it a more lop-sided matter when
it comes to situations such as lay-offs, raises, or vacations time.


Arguments For Having Bad Work Ethics:

Why should I work when I’m going to receive the same amount of pay? For one anonymous Michigan State
University student ,hard work doesn’t always pay. He worked at a local Dairy Queen over the summer .He
hated his job and the amount of money he received while there. However ,he had a scheme to get some
additional money every week. He would simply steal money from the register to get ahead. He states ,I
remember when people would buy their ice-cream, I would fake like I was ringing it through the register
and then put the money they gave me for their ice-cream right into my pocket easily made an extra couple
hundred dollars a week.

 Do you have a positive attitude about your job and the company you work for on a daily basis?
It is really hard for an employer to believe you exude strong work ethics, if you do not project how much
you love your job and the company. If you are grumbling, complaining or part of the “whiner’s club” at
work, you will never convince your boss that you have good work ethics, or that you should be promoted.

 Do you have a high-level of energy at work?
To be appointed to manage a large project, you need to make the boss believe you can handle it easily.
This is where a healthy lifestyle is critical, with proper rest, nutrition and exercise all-important to your
success. Burning the candles at both ends will burn you out.

 Do you do your job right the first time?
This question really comes back to attitude about your job. If you do your job in a haphazard fashion, you
really display a poor attitude about work. In addition, this situation causes a real productivity problem for
your company. If you do it wrong the first time, you will be doing it over and over until you get it right.

 Are you willing to work overtime when the company needs you?
The employer today needs employees who will be there for them when it counts. In information
technology, you will most likely work overtime if you are part of a start-up company or if you are working
on a project implementation. In many cases, many high-paying positions do require overtime. This is not
an unusual way of life in IT, as well as in many white-collar positions today. If your company needs you and
you are not willing to put the time in, you should not wonder why you are always passed over at

 Do you realize how visible “work ethics” are in a small company ,or in a team?
Paula Ballog, CFO at Bender Consulting Services, Inc. said, “Good work ethics are critical in hiring any
employee for any small company in the United States today.”

It is amazing how quickly people forget how visible they are in a small company, where every employee
must handle multiple tasks. Even in a large corporation, in a team environment, the team player that does
not put in their share is quickly labeled as “lazy”. Pittsburgh is a town that lives on reputations, and you do
not ever want that label.

Remember there are millions of people who would give anything to have what you possess today –
employment. Good work ethics means pride in your work. Employment is a treasure you never want to