15 Work Ethics and Values That Encourage Growth

Like everything else in life, our work systems and habits are determined by what we deem important. Do you know that if you believed that hard work is highly needed to be successful, you’d find yourself working harder?

Of course, it seems simple, but our work – the quality of it and how far it takes us – is far more influenced by the values we hold dear than we can imagine.  Growth – personal and career-wise – is every professional’s goal ( I’m sure it’s yours cos you’re reading this…😉!).

There are values that, once adhered to, can enhance growth and make it seem effortless.

Here, I’ve listed fifteen of those values and trust me, if you aim to achieve career success, they’re important. And if you’re at a loss for how you can practically demonstrate these qualities, I’ve included Action Steps which are practical steps and guidelines to work these qualities into your workplace.

Of course, it’s a mind thing, but your beliefs should be backed up by actions, right? So, let’s move!

1. A sense of Responsibility

Key Factors for Business success

A keen sense of responsibility is a vital value to imbibe. Those who are responsible hold themselves accountable for their words and actions. Such people recognize that their decisions and output, which may be influenced by others, are ultimately theirs.

They don’t make irrelevant excuses or shift blames to someone else when something they’re responsible for goes wrong. They proactively work to resolve issues and take the initiatives to become more efficient and productive.

Responsible people are consistent achievers and show themselves trustworthy to the people they’re accountable to. Showing a sense of responsibility will help you gain the trust and respect of your employer/customers/clients which will, in turn, bring bigger opportunities your way.

Action steps:

Next time you make an error in your workplace, own up to it, apologize to the parties concerned and work proactively to rectify it.

If you’re an employer, show your employees that you’re responsible for them. Apologize when payments come late or when you arrive late at a meeting.

2. Time Management


Time is a free gift ( but come to think about it…is it really?) and the ability to manage and maximize it is a skill that will lead to both personal and career success. It is a skill that exceptional people don’t joke with.

Wasted time is never gotten back – so it’d be a wise thing to make time your ally while you work. Employers appreciate employees who get many things done in as little time as possible.

If you work for yourself, actively managing your time will increase your productivity and effectiveness.

Action Steps:

Arrive promptly to meetings, strive to finish tasks before or by the deadline (set arbitrary deadlines for yourself if you work alone), take breaks while you work but don’t stay distracted for too long.

Take note of what takes up most of your time & find creative ways to achieve more in less time. (Switch off your cell phone during office hours if it distracts you.) Manage your time so you can give each task the time it deserves and turn it in early too.

3. The willingness to learn

In an ever-changing world, relevance is dictated by the person/company who is up to date with the latest skills, techniques and methods in the industry. People who are eager to learn, enjoy a constant state of growth and ultimately – success.

Employees who actively work on improving their skills become more valuable and employable. Recent studies have shown that more and more people increasingly quit their jobs because they felt that their workplace hindered their personal or professional growth.

Employers who make provision for their team to grow enjoy relative loyalty and stability from their employees. Business owners who are on the constant lookout for learning opportunities become and remain pacesetters in their industries.

Action Steps:

Ask your employer or trusted colleague to review your work and take note of areas they mark out for improvement. Actively seek professional development.

Invest in learning. Read books or industry publications, attend seminars or conferences etc. on a regular basis. Identify key areas you would like to improve on, make plans for their improvement and follow through on those plans.

4. Believe in your work

Feeling excited about your work is the best way to work and this makes even the hardest of tasks seem effortless. Yes, you won’t always feel excited about what you do, but believing wholeheartedly in its importance certainly makes things easier.

People who have an unshakable belief in their jobs are good team players who stay motivated when the going gets tough which leads to consistent achievements.

Action Steps:

Constantly remind yourself why you do the work you do and its importance to humanity. Inspire yourself by getting to meet successful people in your industry. If you are drawn to certain aspects of your job, focus on those and strive to do them excellently.

5. Dedication

A good work ethic entails commitment and dedication to the job and most often – the task at hand. Good employees show up at work and do their jobs whether they feel like it or not. They don’t surf the internet or social media when there’s a work at hand except during breaks. They focus on tasks and go the extra mile to complete them if need be.

Action Steps:

Eliminate distractions while you work. Get back from lunch breaks early and stick to your routine until you’ve completed the task. 

Read: Bored with office environments? Here are 13 non-office jobs to consider

6. Honesty/Integrity

People who are honest and value integrity in the workplace, work and relate with people in accordance with the highest moral principles.

They are fair, polite and respectful. They don’t lie or engage in fraudulent activities under any circumstances. It is needless to say that these qualities ensure that they gain the trust of their employers/customers/clients (as the case may be).

Action Steps:

Decide to never tell lies in your workplace even if it’ll cost you something. Strive to portray certain qualities and strengths. Be candid, forthright and honest with your employer, Customers or Clients.

7. Cooperation / Teamwork

Individuals with strong work ethics work well alone as well as being a part of a team. They believe in cooperation between involved parties as instrumental to great work and strive to show it.

Action Steps:

Cooperate willingly with others on projects. Learn to leverage other people’s skills to make up for your weaknesses – ask for help when needed. Give help when it is asked for, don’t hesitate to stay back to help a colleague.  Communicate your needs and consider those of others. Remember respect and politeness too.

8. Productivity

Productive people achieve way more than their counterparts. As employees, they’re the ones who get considered for a promotion or incentives because they get the job done.

As business owners, they have a large customer/clientele base because their products or services beat the rest.

Action Steps:

Make increased productivity a goal. Study your work systems, seek and implement ways to make it more efficient. Practise deep, focused work. Whenever you’re at work, concentrate on the task at hand – totally. Complete projects early. Do more than what is required.

9. Positivity

People who grow don’t allow negativity in their workplace. Rather, they spread sunshine. They have an “I can…”, “I will…” spirit and get tough tasks done without complaining about how hard it is. They spread their positivity and often serve as encouragers and a source of motivation in a team.  

Action Steps:

Values such as the willingness to stay positive are valued in firms. When things go wrong in your workplace, consciously choose not to be weighed down. Focus on the positive sides of difficult situations.

10. Strong Self-confidence

Self-confident people have much more room and desire for growth than the average person. Firstly, because they are comfortable with themselves, they live according to what they feel is right regardless of what anyone else says.

This gives them a life of consistency with their highest values. Secondly, because they don’t feel the need to pretend to be a know-it-all, they actively seek opportunities to learn more. They have faith in themselves and their abilities. They know they have what it takes to get the job done and they consistently do – this causes others to believe in them too.

Action Steps:

Take steps to boost your self-confidence as a person. Focus on your strengths and achievements when you’re faced with daunting tasks. Seek help too and be positive about your abilities.

11. Adaptability

No workplace stays the same. People come and go, tasks change and the whole company itself can evolve. A person with a strong work ethic has the ability to adapt to all these changes seamlessly.

They are open to change and improvement and maintain the flexibility that enables them to complete tasks even in the most uncertain or challenging circumstances.

Action Steps:

If you work as part of a team, consciously try to adapt your personal behaviour to accommodate the work habits of others to promote teamwork. See a change in the workplace as an opportunity to grow and work in a more efficient manner even if it is challenging.

12. Reliability

Employers want to see that you get things done when you say you’ll get them done.  They want someone who is dependable and keeps their word.

Co-workers want a teammate that will contribute fairly to the execution of projects. Customers want their orders to arrive on time, Clients want a person who will deliver quality service with or without their supervision. This spells reliability.

Action Steps:

Keep your word and treat deadlines as a priority. Give quality work. Contribute fairly to group projects. If you’re a business person, take and deliver orders promptly.

13. Self-motivation

Self-motivated people achieve immense success because they don’t need constant prodding or persuasion by others to do things. Employees who are self-motivated will perform their duties with minimal supervision or direction.

Action Steps:

Review your work for quality thoroughly before submission. Try to finish tasks in a timely and professional manner with little supervision or instructions from your boss.

14. Discipline

Discipline is an essential part of a good work ethic. Whether you work for yourself or an employer, you won’t always feel like working. Discipline enables you to do what you need to do whether you feel like it or not.

People who are disciplined don’t allow emotions or circumstances dictate their work systems, thus they consistently churn out good work that exceeds expectations. They meet deadlines (because they do the right thing at the right time) and give their very best in everything they do.

Action Steps:

Make it a personal rule and one of your values never to attend to personal stuff during office hours (unless it’s an emergency). Avoid lengthy breaks that eat into your work time. Keep up with the company’s rules and regulations and obey them.

15. Professionalism

For people with a good work ethic, professionalism permeates everything they do in the workplace. This includes the way they speak, dress, lead people and carry out their work. Encourage respect, focus, organization and neatness. They meet the standards of the workplace and maintain an image that portrays the company in a positive light.

Action Steps:

Dress professionally. Speak respectfully to others in the workplace. Arrive promptly for work/meetings. Give firm handshakes and make good eye contact. Handle Workplace issues objectively.

Prioritize your professional responsibilities. Make personal appointments that don’t clash with your work schedule. Constantly seek professional development and ways to do your job better. Aim to be a good ambassador for your company. Maintain a positive attitude towards the company during professional or personal interactions.


These work ethics and values, when implemented into your work systems and habits are sure to enhance growth – both in your professional and personal life. In your quest for achievements in your work life, these ethics and values will serve as a compass to help you navigate through different situations and circumstances and lead you on a sure pathway to success.

Studies have shown that successful people regard most – if not all – of the above values as important. Of course, nobody is a perfect embodiment of every one of these values.

But I’m sure you’ve identified one or two ethical qualities you’d like to imbibe. How do you plan to improve on them?

And why do you think they are important?

Let me know by dropping your comments below.

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Post Author: A Olufunmi Favour

A. Olufunmi Favour is a freelance writer who believes that great music, great food, books and love make the world go round. She also finds the worlds of fashion and business fascinating. She is a strong believer in the power of social impact and asserts that every individual can make a difference, no matter how small it is, in building a better world.

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