Although Labor Day is intended for us to celebrate the history and contributions of the country’s workforce, this year, Labor Day has me thinking of work ethic.
When most of us think of work ethic, we think of someone who will tirelessly exert a high level of effort and energy to get the work done. We have images of long hours, rolled up sleeves and sweat pouring from their foreheads.
We also think of work ethic as someone who is willing to do whatever they’re asked to do without complaint or hesitation. They’re even willing to do the work without being asked.
Why do some people have great work ethic while others don’t?
Simple, we’re all different. Some of us prefer not to work. Some of us prefer to work hard. Some of us prefer to work smart instead of hard. Some of us prefer to work smart and hard.
The real question for leaders is, what are the traits of people who demonstrate good work ethic?
My leadership tip for you this week is to identify the traits of people with great work ethic. Then elevate employee engagement in your organization by recruiting, developing and nurturing those traits. Have work ethic become part of your organizations culture.
Here’s my 5 – step approach to help you.
1. Think about people in your organization (or anywhere) whose work ethic you admire and respect. Create a list of characteristics they have which you believe contribute to their favorable work ethic.
2. Think about people in your organization (or anywhere) whose work ethic is no to your liking. Create a list of characteristics they have which you believe contribute to their unfavorable work ethic.
3. Refine your list of ‘work ethic traits’.
4. Recruit and hire only people who possess the majority of the ‘work ethic traits’ on your list.
5. Develop or replace (over time) the people in your organization who do not possess the majority of the ‘work ethic traits’ on your list. There are many ways to do this but not enough time to cover them all here.
It will also help you if you revisit my leadership tip from last Labor Day here.
Before you do any of this, enjoy the other things Labor Day brings us.
The last long weekend of the summer season to be with friends and family.
The beginning of the US college football season.
Put your feet up and relax – you’ve worked hard and you deserve it.