Small Business Digest Header Icon   •    •    •    •    •    •    •  
Small Business Digest



Burden of Developing Work Ethic Falls on Today’s Managers

Today’s world is requiring managers to instill a work ethic in employees.

Employees are texting while waiting on customers; dressing inappropriately; arriving late; leaving early. Job interviewees materialize expecting a six-figure salary just for showing up.

They are evidence of an eroding work ethic, and it increasingly will be up to business leaders to repair the damage.

“Leaders can no longer stand by idly in hopes that parents and teachers will resume the responsibility for instilling work ethic,” says management consultant Eric Chester.
“Parents now focus most of their attention on ensuring that their kids are healthy, happy and have high self-esteem.  Meanwhile schools, facing widespread criticism and massive cutbacks, are concentrating every available resource on increasing test scores and keeping students safe,” says Chester, a generational workplace expert and author of the new book, Reviving Work Ethic:  A Leader's Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce.

Chester says that workers tend to fall into one of four groups: 

  • Idle Quadrant – those employees who don’t understand work ethic;
  • Lucky Quadrant – those employees who may actually fall into the Idle Quadrant but through luck, show up on time or appear reliable;
  • Cheating Quadrant – those employees who know what they are supposed to do but choose not to;
  • Valued Quadrant – those workers who have a clear knowledge of what they are supposed to do and do it, and possess work-ethic values that make employers proud.

So how do businesses move employees to the Valued Quadrant?  In his book, Chester offers five strategies for doing just that:  Find one’s style, develop trust, value tact and timing, tell stories, and cast a vision.

In addition, Chester identifies what he calls seven Work Ethic Markers that are most important in a successful employee.  To identify these, he draws parallels from lessons taught universally to children (smile and play nice, be prompt, look your best, do your best, obey the rules, tell the truth, say please and thank you).  The seven markers are positive attitude, reliability, professionalism, initiative, respect, integrity and gratitude. 

Chester says his lists include no negotiable items. “Work ethic,” he says, “is knowing what to do and doing it.” 

Chester believes some how-to books in the field that take a softer approach create a false expectation for the emerging work force, Chester lays out the groundwork for leaders and managers to create the work force they need and want and discusses topics such as how to conduct interviews with potential employees that include questions whose answers will indicate work ethic, and how to instill and develop work ethic.

About the Author

Eric Chester is founder and CEO of Reviving Work Ethic (, a speaking, consulting, and training firm dedicated to helping leaders end entitlement and restore pride in the emerging work force.  With work ethic being a primary concern for today's employers, Chester is a sought after expert by CEOs and media outlets. He is also founder and CEO of The Bring Your “A” Game to Work Initiative, a comprehensive work-ethic training and certification program for teens and young adults.  Chester resides in Colorado with his family.

© 2018, Information Strategies, Inc.
P.O. Box 315, Ridgefield, NJ 07657