They control their impulses
A class-act never loses her cool. Like everyone else, she feels the initial impulse to lash out when attacked or engaged in emotionally charged situations. But she allows that impulse to pass, and somehow, in the aftermath, always comes a winner.Take a pause, consider the circumstances, and craft a response that de-escalates the situation. Sacrifice that burst of euphoria you experience from settling a score. Instead, aim for the longterm satisfaction of acting in a way that serves as model behavior for others to follow.
They act with integrity when it’s challenging to do so
Most of us act according to a set of morals and principles, even if we can’t articulate them. Do you live by those principles when it’s more convenient to make an exception?It’s easy to tell yourself, just this once, I don’t want to make enemies, or I need the money. The class act puts principle over personal gain. His peers will admire his decision and envy his ability to sacrifice reward, convenience, or acceptance to live by his values.
They show sportsmanship
Win or lose, act with graciousness towards your competitors. Don’t throw temper tantrums or belittle others when outcomes defy your expectations. And making excuses? Yeah, that’s poor sportsmanship too.It’s okay to recognize that someone performed better than you on a particular day or a particular project. Smile, compliment their effort and get on with your life.Like many other of these behaviors, the secret to good sportsmanship lies in the first rule. Ignore your initial impulse, take a deep breath, and think about what action will serve you best.
They stay above the fray
See yourself as a mediator rather than a combatant. A class-act never involves themselves in petty squabbles or even big ones. Instead, they play the role of peacemaker. They bring calm and clarity to tense situations.When you’re the one to get both sides to agree on a mutually acceptable outcome, your reputation soars. You win respect and admiration for acting in a way others wish they could in a similar situation.
They do classy things
I once received a handwritten note from a coach I had hired to help improve my sales skills. He wrote that he was honored to serve me. Also enclosed was a bar of my favorite dark chocolate. It cost him a few bucks and a few minutes of his time. It was one of the classiest things I’ve ever experienced.You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Pay attention to the little things that brighten the day of your friends and the people you serve. Take a few minutes of your time to add a personal touch to your interactions. That’s class.
They make people feel welcome
Have you ever felt tolerated but not welcomed? It sucks, doesn’t it? A class-act goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels like they’re the most important person at the table.Sure, it takes some charisma to pull this off. But a little bit of effort will get you 90% of the way there. Be gracious. Show genuine interest in others. Avoid playing favorites. Act as though you’re lucky they granted you an audience.
They defend the innocent
Years ago, I witnessed a situation at work that exemplified the kind of person I wanted to emulate. A Vice President, also a known bully, was berating one of his peers over something petty. Another Vice President stood up to defend the victim.Instead of engaging in a street fight, he praised the victim for his efforts, refuting the bully’s arguments without saying one disparaging word about him. He deprived the confrontation of fuel, making it difficult for the victimizer to reload their canons of vitriol.
They do kind things when nobody is looking
Why do rich folks donate obscene money to get their names on university buildings? It’s a sign of status. Is it a generous thing to do? Sure, but how many of them would give money if their donations were anonymous?A class-act never flaunts their good deeds. They do it as a matter of course. Compliment others not to get something, but to brighten their day. Go ahead and pick up a piece of trash on the floor, even if you’re alone.There’s nothing wrong with desiring recognition for your kind actions but think of it as a side-effect of a life dedicated to this principle. Do it enough, and others will notice.