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Lloyd Smith
Lloyd Smith



4 June 2024

Will your work ethic shape your career?

A strong work ethic can demonstrate your leadership potential and build your reputation as someone who gets the job done. Where will your work ethic take you?


At a glance:

  • A strong work ethic is an important marker for leadership potential.
  • People with a strong work ethic make ideal candidates for promotion and professional development.
  • Your work ethic can open doors for you, challenging your thinking and exposing you to diverse people, experiences and opportunities.

We need many different skills and attributes to succeed, both in work and in life. But for Gerard Daniels Director, Lloyd Smith, one quality surpasses all others.

“Regardless of the type of work that you do or the level that you’re at, your work ethic can define you as an individual and can be the key to determining your success,” he says. “While your work ethic can be measured by your achievements, it’s the effort that you put in and the approach that you take that matters most. I was fortunate to learn this lesson early on, and it has shaped my outlook ever since.”

According to Lloyd, people with a strong work ethic: 

  • Take responsibility for their actions and words – as leaders they are accountable personally and for their team.
  • They are trustworthy and reliable, consistently delivering on promises; adequately preparing; doing what they say they will do; and being where they need to be on time.
  • They are professional at all times, as shown by their words, actions, presentation and work quality.
  • They strive for continual improvement, seeking opportunities to grow and improve and inviting feedback to inform their development.

People with a strong work ethic are also tenacious. “There are many people with great vision and ideas, but not everyone brings the assurance that they will deliver,” says Lloyd. “Having a good work ethic means giving your very best and having the confidence and capability to see things through to a successful conclusion.”

Opening doors: where will your work ethic take you?

Professional golfer, Garry Clark, was onto something when he said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get”.

For employers, work ethic is an essential characteristic for identifying leadership potential. It is also a critical part of reference checking and psychological testing during recruitment – here’s why:

  • A strong work ethic makes people more productive, timely and thorough. It helps them to appreciate the gravity of the issues at hand and to consider all evidence for more informed decision making.
  • A keenness to work collaboratively allows people with a strong work ethic to gel easily with others in team environments, improving the alignment of ideas whilst also achieving stretch targets.
  • If people can think past their rank to understand their influence, they can have a more positive impact. “Once you realise that your approach radiates out, you can affect others by setting a good example,” says Lloyd.
  • The desire to deliver above expectations also makes people great at prioritising their workload and hungry for self-improvement.

“People with a strong work ethic put themselves in the frame for development and promotion, because they are just the sort of people that leaders can and want to entrust these opportunities to,” says Lloyd. “As an employer you are more inclined to work with the people that perform to a consistently high standard and that can be relied on to get the job done.”

“If you are perceived in this way, particularly in the early stages of your career, you will be exposed to a great diversity of people and experiences, opening you up to new ideas and challenging your status quo,” Lloyd continues. “Having these experiences is particularly important for personal growth, because to grow we must challenge and widen our thinking. If we can do this, we can leverage our intellect in more powerful ways.”

Learning from others is important in building a strong work ethic, too. “At any level you can learn from others and use those lessons to be more productive,” says Lloyd. “You just need the right mindset to find these opportunities, to better yourself and to improve what you can do for your team and your organisation.”

To find executive talent with the work ethic to drive your team forward, connect with Lloyd or reach out to your local Gerard Daniels team.

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