Gentlemen are a Dying Breed, Be One

By | April 9, 2018

[April 9, 2018]  A legendary story about gentlemanly behavior comes from Elizabethan times when Sir Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak before the Queen so she would not get her feet wet.1  But times are changing and there are some folks who now ask whether gentlemen are a dying breed.  Nevertheless, for a leader, the answer is to always the same … be a gentleman.

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the U.S.

During a recent commissioning ceremony for U.S. Army Infantry Second Lieutenants, an Army Commander said in his speech that he expected these newly minted officers to always be gentlemanly in how they treat others as well as courageous on the battlefield.  He implied that was there may be some similarities between leaders and gentlemen.

In days long ago, new military officers were commissioned as officers and gentlemen.  This began in the British military and spread throughout most Western nations that favored small, volunteer armies.  It was expected that those officers act in gentlemanly ways: polite, punctual, modest, honest, selfless, respectful, and dressed tidily.  One was not required to come from royal breeding to be an officer yet the status of an officer was high.

Good advice for leaders: Gentlemen are a dying breed. Be one and you’ll stand out.

Writing from experience, a man who is a gentleman will discover that life goes their way more often than not.  He is appreciated if he conducts himself properly and highly respected as well.  Here are five ways to be a gentleman:

  1. Pay attention to others. Remember people’s names, important events in their lives, and those things in which they have interests.  Recognize these and you will be thanked.
  2. Listen to others. Don’t talk about yourself, curse, or be vulgar in any setting; public or private.  Instead, focus on others.
  3. Help others around you. Hold the door for others (both men and women), provide positive feedback, and be unpretentious in all you do.
  4. Avoid controversial topics. This is about knowing your audience and sensitive to their needs and interests. What gentlemen do is not provoke others unnecessarily.
  5. Treat others with respect. Say hello, avoid disrupting or insulting behavior, and have good manners.

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  1. In reality, it appears that Sir Walter Raleigh never did lay down his cloak: https://www.trivia-library.com/b/sir-walter-raleigh-never-laid-his-cloak-before-queen-elizabeth.htm
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Gentlemen are a Dying Breed, Be One

  1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Damn good post Gen Satterfield. Thanks.

  2. José Luis Rodriguez

    Men, the message is simple. Don’t be stupid, be a gentleman!

  3. Kenny Foster

    I agree with the comments here. I fail to see how millennials respect each other in their going about their day. I’m told that for them “respect” or “gentlemanly behavior” is only achieved by agreeing with them on political matters. Otherwise you are a “deplorable.”

    1. Drew Dill

      Interesting perspective. I think youve hit onto something here.

    2. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Yes, I too concur that for Millenials to “agree” is synonymous with “respect.” Anything else is violence to be outlawed.

  4. Jerry Jones

    I never thought of this topic this way. Good info. Thx.

  5. Tracey Brockman

    Being a gentleman should not be controversial, yet I find it so. When I open a door for a young woman it is not uncommon to be insulted by her. Respect is not recognized and disrespect is the end result.

  6. Bryan Lee

    Good blog article today Gen. Satterfield.

  7. Jung-hoon Kim

    Respect and gentleman are the same for all men.

  8. Greg Heyman

    Anyone surprised at the condition of respect in American should look back at a time when gentlemanly behavior (and lady-like) were adored and used as the standard for good behavior.

  9. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    This also applies as well to the “ladies”. Many good books and articles out there on how to be a lady. These closely parallel gentlemanly behavior.

  10. Tony B. Custer

    Growing up I had zero role models that showed me how to be a gentleman. I learned from tv there were actually people like this. In school no teacher taught the subject, no one talked about it, and on the streets there certainly were no activities that encouraged it. In fact, where I grew up in the big city, being acting gentlemanly would get you beat up. I learned it on my own later and only because I saw value in it and purposefully picked up the skills (the hard way). I think this partly explains my success in life now.

  11. Joe Omerrod

    My whole family now reads theLeaderMaker.com, for both entertainment and learning. Your stories are great. Thank you. Keep up the good writing.

  12. Ronny Fisher

    I too learned about Sir Walter Raleigh and his fame for being a gentleman and explorer. That was a real manly man. Gen. Satterfield, I recommend an article on him someday.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Thanks Ronny for bringing up Sir Walter Raleigh as a legendary gentleman. Yes, I will write about him in the future to focus on his leadership skills that were instrumental in his fame.

  13. Danny Burkholder

    The world would be a better place if we had gentlemen and ladies to look up to.

  14. Shawn C Stolarz

    A good blog post today. Thanks. Gentlemanly behavior is now just an anachronism. When the liberals started to put down gentlemanly behavior, DISRESPECT started to increase and they cannot figure out why.

  15. Janna Faulkner

    I saw the 1982 movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” and loved it. Starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger it was one of my favorites from that era of movie making. In it, they demonstrate (I think unknowingly) the link between gentlemanly behavior and leadership skills.

  16. Max Foster

    Theodore Roosevelt was a good president and smart, brave man to boot. I like this quote. Never saw it before. Thanks for discussion of a long overdue subject.

  17. Army Captain

    I wanted to be an army officer since before I reached first grade. I remember well my granddad talking about his service during WW2 and being considered an “officer and gentleman”. That was important to me and I wanted to be one. Upon my own commissioning as an Infantry officer in the US Army, I was sad to discover that I was not “officially” considered a gentleman. They no long commissioned officers as a “gentleman” anymore. But … I have tried to ensure that I acted that way and was amazed at the congruence of the roles of gentlemen and leadership.

    1. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

      Thanks Army Captain for your service. I too wanted to be an army officer. However, i got distracted along the way but always have the most admiration and respect for all who serve and have served.

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