10 Qualities of a Modern Gentleman
Is being a gentleman an archaic concept? Or is it still relevant today? Does the word “gentleman” conjure images of an ancient knight in shining armor fighting valiantly for a lady, or a man wearing an expensive suit, dining in five-star restaurants, and tipping his hat?
Thankfully, the definition of being a gentleman has changed—for the better—as many of these outdated notions have long passed away. Being a gentleman is no longer associated with being a man of high social position and wealth. In fact, one does not need to look any further than the five o’clock news to know that money and power do not buy class.
Today, being a gentleman is a matter of choice. It is a title you earn through an unwavering commitment to invest in your character. It is not about perfection, but a constantly renewed pursuit of excellence. Gentlemen are not stiff, pretentious, or focused on elevating themselves. Instead, they strive to succeed while helping those around them succeed as well. Being a gentleman means that you care about how your choices impact others. It is about human connection.
At a recent professional event, I was introduced to a man who dressed impeccably and had been working the room like a pro. His handshake was appropriate, and our initial conversation was pleasant, but he quickly became boastful, stopped listening, and seemed unaware of the people around him. Before my eyes, he transformed from a gentleman into a banty rooster—all puff and little substance. Sadly, he was unable to connect in a meaningful way.
Our world is in desperate need of more gentlemen. Those who choose to pick up this torch are not only performing a noble feat, but they also reap incredible rewards. The qualities of a modern gentleman never go out-of-style and pay huge dividends.
And if you are eager to read the Ten Qualities of Being a Modern “Lady,” read on! Character is not gender specific, and these traits apply equally to both men and women of valor.
Here are ten qualities of a modern gentleman:
A gentleman is generous with his time, wisdom, and resources. He looks for ways to help others. He is a servant leader, and his commitment to interpersonal kindness creates a positive workplace culture that boosts commitment, engagement, and performance.
A gentleman chooses to be positive. His positivity is contagious, and his consistent encouragement draws others to him. He practices gratitude, which research shows lowers his blood pressure, improves immune function, reduces stress hormones, and facilitates better sleep.
- Lifelong Learner
A gentleman maintains a teachable posture and actively seeks new challenges. His intellectual curiosity propels him to constantly better himself and his craft through reading, coaching, ongoing education, and time spent with mentors. He turns off the T.V. and silences his phone to make time for this investment. He is emotionally mature, mentally sharp, informed, and not ashamed to ask for help.
A gentleman embraces civility by valuing all people and treating everyone with respect. From the janitor to the CEO, he carefully considers how his behavior and words impact others. He treats female and male colleagues with the same respect. According to a study of nearly 20,000 employees around the world, no other leadership behavior had a bigger effect on employee commitment and engagement than respect. Civility is the hallmark of great leadership, and it pays.
A gentleman is well-mannered, and can effortlessly navigate social and professional settings with confidence and proficiency. He stays abreast of current etiquette guidelines, and uses social acumen to navigate shifting norms. As a result, he is as comfortable at a casual gathering with friends as he is in the boardroom. He returns his shopping cart, says “please” and “thank you,” holds doors open for others, tips generously, and smiles often.
- Hard Worker
A gentleman possesses a strong work ethic. He takes great pride in his work and strives to give his very best every day. He is reliable, dedicated, self-disciplined, humble, and a team player. He leads and is led well. People want him on their team.
- Sharp Appearance
A gentleman understands the power of his appearance—that the way he chooses to dress, groom, and carry himself is either a bridge or a barrier to his success because what people see, is what they expect. He takes no days off from excellence, and his consistently sharp appearance demonstrates respect for himself and his environment, wherever he may be. He conducts an annual image audit to ensure that his appearance is up-to-date and supports his goals.
- Effective Communicator
A gentleman is well-spoken and a focused listener. He demonstrates conversational competence and leaves others feeling inspired, engaged, and understood. He manages his tone and body language to maximize connection. He knows that hearing is a passive physical process, but listening is an active mental process that requires work. As a result, he strives to really listen to what people have to say while also effectively communicating his point of view.
A gentleman is confident in that he knows the value of what he brings to the table. He seeks competence, not perfection. His body language and commanding personal presence identify him as a leader. He stands upright, walks with purpose, avoids hiding his hands in his pockets, and extends a firm handshake.
- Person of Integrity
A gentleman does the right thing even when no one is watching. He is a man of his word, and is not swayed by peer pressure or popular opinion. The man he is at work is the same person you will encounter in the community and at his home.
Just ask yourself: How do you want to be remembered? ™