Hello, guys! For this article, I will address you properly as GENTLEMEN.
And hello ladies who value courteous behaviour and good carriage from the men in their world- home or office.
In the last two decades or thereabout, we have witnessed a significant blurring of the gender line in the workplace. Ladies no longer want to be treated a ‘weak’ or needing extra care and support from women. They have also rightfully fought for more equitable remuneration and more seats on the board. We have more powerful and effective lady Chief Executives now in the corporate environment, and they bring a mother’s touch to things.
That said, the place of the man is not threatened in any way and the role and disposition of the gentleman are even needed more to allow everyone to deliver maximally for the organization’s good. With more powerful women emerging, the tendency for some men is to get corkier and lose all decorum completely, thinking, after all a powerful peer or superior doesn’t need my chivalry. Wrong!!!
Being a gentleman is a thing of the heart and until your heart is trained to show gallantry, compassion, consideration, courtesy, and honour in every situation, you will keep acting like a brute in a suit.
So how do you act like a gentleman in the workplace? I will give you some tips here:
- Be comfortable in your skin; love yourself: You cannot give what you do not have. A gentleman is first in love with himself and all that he represents for good. He understands the sacrifice he has made to be who he is now, and he looks in hope for the future, putting the responsibility squarely on himself and not blaming or being over-expectant of someone else. When you can ease these unnecessary pressures, you are ready to give the world around you kindness and love.
- Walk ‘tall’: As a gentleman, you should elicit some awe and admiration from people around you. The real objective of a confident disposition, looks, and body language is to present yourself as desirable, and worthy of emulation. You should be an inspiration to people around you, mates, younger or older. When a man exudes confidence, he appears trustworthy and competent and for sure, the ladies would love to team up with a man who will make their jobs easier. Who doesn’t?
- Pay attention to the details of your appearance: this follows from the previous point. Visual appeal is very important for likeability. Looking good and well-groomed puts people at ease and it lowers the initial defenses people might have. A nice smell about you makes people want to stay around unlike having a body odour. So, no matter how kind and courteous you are, a scruffy look may portray you as a desperate people pleaser. If a button is missing on your shirt, get it fixed. If your shoe heels are worn down, replace the sole (or half-sole). Get a shave or carve the beard. Have your clothes well pressed and ensure you wear quality accessories like ties, belts, and wristwatches. You can easily tell a man of class by checking out his shoes and watch. And very importantly, ensure you dress according to the code. Don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
- Stay humble: A gentleman will walk with his head tall but his heart bowed in humility. Pride, they say, goes before a fall. God resists the proud. Understand that a man is not made by what he has or has not. Achievements and material possessions a fleeting and transient. A medal received today will only be history by morning, and as life is, we are on to the next. “Do you know who I am”, “who the hell do you think you are?”, are statements made by an empty man.
- Calm down, don’t take yourself too seriously: A Gentleman will not take himself too seriously. He understands this statement: “a person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, that’s jolted by every pebble on the road”- (Henry Ward Beecher). You must make a light heart an asset. Engage in decent humour and brim with self-confidence. Don’t let anyone chip away at your self-worth with snide remarks; you either courteously ask them to stop or turn the situation on its head by making more fun of yourself. Nothing will frustrate the ‘attacker’ more than knowing that you have tough skin and your ego remains solid.
- Be willing to help: A gentleman should be willing to ease people of their burden as much as he can. We all need help at one time or the other, whether to finish a task or pay for lunch. You may not always have the cash or the skills to be helpful in the way I have mentioned above, but you could have the ears and words that lift the soul and clears the doubts in a colleague’s mind; lend those words and use those ears. What goes around comes around; you might need the same down the road.
- Learn the art of a good conversation: Sometimes, with some people, you need to let the moment linger to be able to draw essence from them or strengthen bonds with them. After the initial exchange of pleasantries, what next? If you observe that this is a good person, or anyone worthy of your time (maybe the janitor), linger for a few more seconds and ask them a nice question that they will want to answer? Like “how was the traffic on your way to work today?”. “Hope last night’s rain didn’t affect you too much? It wreaked havoc in my area.”
Or pay a sincere compliment if you find something to compliment. Don’t flatter. Compliments have proofs. “Your shoes look great” is a compliment when the shoes obviously look great, but flattery when they don’t. You won’t get far with flattery.
- Respect authority: being a gentleman requires you to understand and recognize hierarchy, power, and authourity at the workplace. Your age and sex should not stop you from showing honour to who it is due. Don’t overheat the system with your untamed ego; don’t impede corporate progress. If you have a problem with the way your boss is running things, or there are obvious intimidation and oppression by power, use the right mechanism to communicate. Do not lead a needless insurrection in your office.
- Don’t discriminate: As a gentleman, there shouldn’t be anyone you cannot mingle with, work with and get results. Acknowledge the fact that we are different and unique; our backgrounds are different, our choices, perceptions of life, etc. You may not agree with how people view things but respect their rights to have a different inclination from you.
- Respect Boundaries: Yes, you are a nice guy, do not take access for granted. You cannot go into someone’s office and cross your legs on his/her table just because you feel familiar. There are periods slated for work, and some are serious with it; it is wrong for you to go bug people with a gist when they need time to focus. Most people cannot stand a conversation about their age or body shape; don’t go there. Do not take your colleague’s drink in the refrigerator without asking first.
Generally, do not be a burden to anyone. A gentleman is a consummate professional, a gift to people with whom he works. Be that man!