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Manners maketh Managers

By Peter Neville Lewis, Oct 16 2017 07:45AM

Apologies to William of Wykeham (1324 -1404), founder of Winchester College whose original phrase, Manners maketh Man, is the motto of both Winchester and New College Oxford.

What does this slightly out of date aphorism (less heard nowadays) really mean? Wykeham went on to add:

It is by politeness, etiquette and charity that Society is saved from falling into savagery.

In other words the basis of civil society is how we behave towards each other.

People skills in business are critical – they help to oil the wheels.

However we see poor examples every day – and programmes like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice don’t help as they are mostly populated by ill mannered, uber competitive individuals.

The arch priest of rudeness, and prime example, is sadly the President of the US for whom there is little respect from his global audience.

Autocracy and Power get you so far but without consideration and empathy, plus the willingness to listen to others’ points of view, the ability to influence others soon disappears.

As my friend Eve Poole of Ashridge Business School said recently:

“You get further in life by being liked than by being right!”

Learning to care about the outcomes of your decisions and behaviours is a skill which all leaders and managers need to acquire if they want to be genuinely successful.

“People don’t care about how much you know until THEY know how much YOU care!”

So, please can we all try and behave a little more graciously?

Pedro the Jester

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Why The Corporate Jester?


Because there is always a need to “call it out”, point out the emperor’s clothes may not be quite so fancy as he thinks (or others are telling him) and boldly say what others dare not!


The role of court jester was well known centuries ago and they had the licence to attack pomposity or stupidity in their betters without fear of retribution. (Well nearly!) Many of Shakespeare’s plays have a fool who is the commentator on human foibles – the most famous probably being in King Lear, the architect of his own downfall through his wilfulness.  Familiar?


May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?  (Fool – King Lear, Act 1 scene 4)