I read and write a lot about leadership. What I had never consciously realised was why I consider some types of people good leaders and others not

Last week I went to the inauguration of a new board of directors at an entrepreneurs’ network I am considering to be member of.  We arrived into a warm lighted hall with a reception area and 2 gentlemen welcoming the guests. The beautiful venue was offered by one of the new board members

When stepping into the room where the presentation was going take place one could choose between going to the coffee table, engage in small talk or take a seat for the presentation. The room was quite visited and small groups of people were talking to each other. At the front of the room a sole person fiddling with some papers

The new chair of the network was ready to start the presentation and invited us to sit down. His presentation was about why the need for a new board, a list of that went wrong – lack of interest and leadership of the previous board as well as far too ambitious plans. He then showed a picture of the new board members, said their names and positions and then quickly moved on to tell us all the great things he had done. He, because for most part of the rest of the presentation he used predominantly the I pronoun. “I did this”, “I organised this”, “I would like to achieve this…” He told us about all the meetings he had with key figures some of the achievements they had made in the last 3 months. Quite impressive for the short time they had been working as board. He then went to introduce 3 guest speakers

I kept thinking he is not inspiring me, I am not connecting with him, and I felt a heavy energy hanging in the room. It was only at the end of the meeting that I realised what was bothering me so much

He never invited the other two new board members to the front of the audience nor properly introduced them to us. He did not even introduce himself, apart from his name and his position. Not a word about his credential to qualify him as chair

That is when I came to realise that often I feel leaders are not really behaving as one, even though they are showing some leadership signs. The reason is the lack of courtesy and social skills people show in leadership positions. This made me linger for a while on what makes people with leadership positions good leaders

I went back to the literature about leadership and I noticed that even “gurus” talk about the 7 of 10 leadership skills. Thanking and or acknowledging people is one of the skills but they do not openly talk about manners and politeness. Personally I do not think that being polite and showing courtesy is old fashioned, and if it is then please bring old fashioned education back to the leadership table

Leadership for me is about keeping your team motivated and acknowledged, inviting them to be part of the team as full-fledged members and leaving their own ego outside the door. Social skills, politeness and courtesy are therefore for me the essential top number one skill any leader needs to make part of their personality.