15 strategies to help your team develop a strong work ethic

By Isaac Malagala

A motivated employee tends to have a much better level of engagement than an unmotivated one. Building a worker’s motivation requires the business to examine the work ethic of the group or team that they’re in.

Strong work ethics go hand in hand with less supervision and more responsibility. For a company, this helps with distributing work and freeing up executives to work on more complex matters.

But how does a business go about encouraging a more ethical approach? Here, 15 experts from Forbes Coaches Council offer some nuggets of wisdom about how a company can help its teams develop a stronger work ethic

1. Define Work Ethic Within Your Culture

First, define what “right” looks like around the words “work ethic” inside of your workplace culture. Make it actionable in every way, so they know “it” when they see it, do it, believe it. Always put your words into action, walk the talk and you will inspire others to follow the work ethic you are looking for. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport

2. Align Their Work With Organizational Goals

Research shows that employees are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged when they’re able to connect their work to the organization’s goals. Every month, leaders should communicate to their team how their projects align with the organization’s current objectives. Do this in team meetings and one-on-one discussions, and you’ll give them a reason to be motivated by showing them how valuable they are. – Arathi Ramappa, Arathi Concepts LLC

3. Consider Involvement, Accountability, Recognition

There are three key things organizations should consider to encourage a strong work ethic. First of all, employee involvement — whenever possible, encourage employees to take part in the creative planning processes. They’ll feel a stronger sense of ownership and engagement with the work. Second, accountability — don’t play favorites. Treat everyone equally. Lastly, recognition — praise good work publicly and give constructive feedback privately. Make sure feedback is always constructive, not berating! – Dhru Beeharilal, Nayan Leadership, LLC4. Start With The ‘Why’ Of The Work

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Leaders should start with the “why” of the work and continually look for ways to make connections between the task and the broader purpose and goals of the team or company. This helps employees feel more invested, committed and motivated to perform. – Amy Phillip, Career Certain

5. Express Genuine Gratitude

Gratitude is essential. Start by expressing genuine gratitude toward your employees’ many contributions. Gratitude combined with stretch and growth opportunities will enable you to also tap into their discretionary energy — that reserve employees will only expand when they truly feel valued, appreciated and part of the team. – Mimi Moore, exeCoaching International

6. Be An Honest And Open Leader

Leadership is about drive and creating a vision. It is about convincing others to do more or reach higher than they thought was possible. It is also about recognizing the achievements of superior workers and demanding improvement of those who do not meet set standards. Work to gain the trust and respect of your team by being an honest and open leader. If you do, a strong work ethic will follow. – G. Riley Mills, Pinnacle Performance Company

7. Create A Sense Of Inclusiveness

One of the best ways to develop a strong work ethic among your employees is to create a sense of inclusiveness. When employees at all levels feel they are part of the bigger picture and that they had a direct contribution to the business structure, those employees will in turn feel appreciated and thus motivated within their daily tasks. – Melissa King, MELISSA KING

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8. Set Clear Intentions And Expectations

Company culture is built either by default or design. So, it’s important to set clear intentions and expectations for teams. First, define what a strong work ethic means within the culture of your company. Next, set goals and expectations. Lastly, the most powerful way to encourage and guide teams to develop a strong work ethic is for the leader to demonstrate and be the example. – Shameca Tankerson, Command More Sales

9. Instill A Culture Of Ownership

Leaders can encourage and instill a culture of ownership when guiding teams to develop a strong work ethic. When things get busy, the development of team members often gets ignored and is not consistent. Develop a coaching cadence that becomes a priority for the team as they develop their game plan of skill development and take personal ownership in their roles so that the team executes. – Bryan Powell, Invite Change

10. Ensure Effective Communication

Effective communication and a healthy culture will set the tone for the collective work ethic of a team. A vibrant culture is the outcome when accountability is embraced by all, leaders lead by example and communication is timely. Employees with clearly defined goals, understanding of how they contribute and certainty of expectations feel more motivated to strive for a higher performance. – Lindsay Miller, Reverie Organizational Development Specialists

11. Speak The Way They Need To Be Spoken To

Speak to employees the way they need to be spoken to (not the way you want to be spoken to). What information do they need to hear? What do they need to get on board with an idea or a new way of doing things? – Julie Holunga, Chinook Executive Solutions

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12. Make Sure You Walk The Talk

Walk your talk. A leader who focuses on contributing to the effort with sweat equity and who navigates hard work without overwork conveys important messages such as: “It takes all of us to do great things together. I do my part. We’ve got this. I have a life and I want you to, as well!” – Moe Carrick, Moe Carrick

13. See People As People First

See people as people first, and workers second. Building authentic, caring relationships engages your team as real, whole people committed to working together. Encourage wellness as an integrated part of team success. Bring out your best by modeling the way — look after your own wellness. Try taking a deliberate, slow breath at work, then allow yourself to notice the other person as a human first. – Jessica Hartung, Integrated Work

14. Provide Them With Agency And Autonomy

Provide your people with agency and autonomy. Micromanagement disempowers employees and ultimately creates learned helplessness. Instead, communicate clear implicit and explicit expectations for job role success. From there, empower your people by ensuring their workload, time constraints and resources are realistic and feasible. – Jacinta Jimenez, Jiménez Coaching & Consulting

15. Tap Into What People Aspire To

Motivation is fleeting. Tap into what people aspire to. Know the value and contribution they want to make to the job or the company, and find unique ways to acknowledge them and give them more accountability on what they aspire to contribute. Make sure you have a clear purpose and that people are aligned with it, and know their role in making it happen. Create a culture that accelerates them. – Christine Nielsen, Contrast Coaching & Consulting

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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