What Are Good Work Ethics?

Treating others with respect is a good philosophy and ethic at work.
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Defining the specifics of good work ethics is essentially a subjective practice, but employers usually agree as to the characteristics of "good" work ethics looked for in their employees. Personal ethics are defined as moral objectives or values that you believe in and practice as part of your life's philosophy. When it comes to work, your ethics also encompass your overall attitude about work. One definition of a person with good work ethics is a person who shows up on time with the willingness to do what it takes to get the job done without complaint.


    Good work ethics start with honesty. This includes being honest in what you say and what you do at work. The person who lies to her supervisor or others, spends company time on personal phone calls or emails is not an honest person. Many employees might think that taking company supplies home for personal use is perfectly OK, but to an employer it is considered theft and dishonest.

Personal Integrity

    A person with personal integrity is trustworthy. She carries through with what she promises. If she cannot meet a deadline because of other demands that arise, she communicates this immediately to her supervisor. Personal integrity also means that you don't blame someone else or make excuses for what you didn't do or mistakes that you have made.


    Next to being trustworthy is the ability to be responsible. Responsible people are able to respond appropriately to any given situation or event. They can be relied on to do the job without having to be constantly monitored. Being responsible also means taking ownership of your work product and duties.


    Most employers include optimism in good work ethics because it means you will try your best to maintain a positive outlook in even the most negative of situations. Having a positive, optimistic outlook also means that you pay attention and relate to the positive qualities in others, rather than just noticing their weaknesses or shortcomings.


    Self-motivation is also another positive work ethic. When you are motivated from within, you don't need a supervisor over your shoulder explaining the things you need to do. You have an internal monitor that keeps you active, disciplined and organized to complete your work ahead of time or on schedule.

Team Player

    A key characteristic of someone with a good work ethic is being a team player. When you "play well with others," you understand and honor the diversity a team can bring to problem solving. Instead of competing with co-workers, you realize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Team players welcome the chance to work together with others by checking their egos at the door.

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