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Personal Virtues That Are Important in the Workplace

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Personal virtues are qualities you possess that make you especially valuable to an employer. A personal virtue is different from a technical job skill, or even common soft skills, such as communication abilities. Instead, a personal virtue is a trait that better equips you for success relative to peers with similar competencies for a position.


Honesty, character, and integrity are among the most necessary and desired personal virtues by employers. Regardless of how well you can perform a particular job function, employers need to feel like you have the moral integrity for long-term success. Integrity helps you maintain good internal relationships, but it also helps you maintain the organization's reputation in dealings with customers and the public. A company leader likes to know that he can trust you and believe what you say.

Motivation and Work Ethic

Self-motivation and work ethic are correlated personal virtues that employers also desire. Drive and a sense of purpose in your work contributes to your hard work and dutiful performance. Managers prefer employees with self-motivation because they typically require less hand-holding and fewer pep talks. Instead, the manager can provide basic direction and training and turn you loose to complete your work tasks. Hard work gives you an advantage over less determined peers in completing work and improving yourself.


Responsibility and accountability are additional virtues that go hand in hand. Responsibility means that you step up to make decisions and take actions when your position demands it. Accountability means that you take the burden of responsibility when things go wrong. If you make a mistake internally, accountability causes you to own up to it and work to make things right. If you mess up with customers, you take the steps needed to correct things. Employers like accountable workers because they typically work to improve and overcome challenges.

Positive Attitude

A generally positive attitude and kind nature contribute to a positive workplace morale. People with a positive attitude can help bring up the spirits of co-workers and colleagues. They are also more apt to work past challenges and hardships. While a positive attitude alone won't cause you to do a good job, it definitely makes you more pleasant to have in the workplace relative to more sour or negative-thinking peers.


Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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