A Good Work Ethic. In this day and age, we hear this phrase thrown around a lot. Be it listed in job descriptions, reiterated by our bosses, included in workplace trainings, or simply tossed out in discussion by the water cooler, it is something we hear about, talk about, and read about. But, do we actually understand what it means, and what does it looks like to have a legitimately good work ethic while on the job?

Simply put, a good work ethic requires respect, dignity, and treating others well while on the job. It’s important to understand what constitutes a “good” work ethic. Most of the essential elements get lost in translation as our work environments have become more corporate and less personal. To break it down, a good work ethic includes the values of Honesty, Integrity, and Accountability.

Honesty in the workplace entails remaining open and authentic with your coworkers and staff. It is one of the best ways to prove that they are significant and matter to you. By being an example of what it looks like to be honest, you can facilitate a work environment where others feel comfortable being honest about their views and opinions about anything, which could lead to more productive discussions and thus, more productivity. In exhibiting honest behavior, you will gain the trust and admiration of others, and facilitate the importance of professional honesty amongst all staff members.

Integrity ties in closely with honesty, but includes practicing fair judgment, adhering to moral principles, and making inherently good choices in the workplace. Practicing integrity can rub off on the people you work with, which can be of a great benefit to the bottom line of your company. Instilling this value into your workplace can help lift morale and generate better results due to increased positivity amongst your employees.

Accountability is another rare, but essential quality that ties into possessing a good work ethic. Honesty and integrity are paramount, but at the end of the day, you alone are responsible for your words and actions. If you practice a good work ethic, a sense of accountability will force you to consider whether you exhibited honesty and integrity during your workday, and then take full responsibility for the results, good or bad. Be accountable. Be responsible. Be able to explain yourself, your words and your actions, without shame or doubt because you have done so with moral character.

Employees and colleagues alike take note of your behavior, and if you are constantly exhibiting positive the traits of honesty, integrity, and accountability, you can “pay it forward” by setting an example of what it means to practice a good work ethic while on the job. If these are practiced, you will start to see positive results as you encourage a sense of respect and dignity amongst all employees in your organization.

So this begs the question: What are you doing to implement good work ethics in your organization? Perhaps it is your turn to step up and show others what it means to practice a good work ethic. However desensitized we have all become to the true meaning of good, hard work, we still have the ability to be leaders and to prove that a good work ethic isn’t dead. It is time to redefine what it looks like to have a good work ethic in today’s workplace.