24 Nov Which leader are you – oh so smart or oh so pleasant?


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

–William Arthur Ward

‘Tis the season for reflection, and as Aristotle said, “The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.”

Grace as in mercy, favor, thanks, and virtue

In today’s vernacular we would also say that grace is being genuine, authentic and emotionally intelligent. It’s about caring enough to be present, to be patient, to listen, and truly understand. Those virtues produce optimism, confidence, and the ability to inspire others in such a way that relationships are nurtured to build trust – the foundation of the human endeavor called teamwork.

There is a great line from the 1950 movie, “Harvey” –

“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

I have the privilege of working with people and teams who are truly gracious net-givers, humble, and “oh so pleasant.” I am grateful for all the trials, tribulations, experiences, and circumstances they share as they achieve their aspirational goals through the deliberate development of their team.

I believe most of us share a very similar aspiration, and that’s to make a difference. Some goals we accomplish all by ourselves. The truly aspirational goals require a team. Do you think your team needs you to be oh so smart or oh so pleasant?

As you take time for reflection, I wish you a joyous Thanksgiving with friends and family, and hope the entire Holiday Season is energizing, and rejuvenating!


  • Vickie Maletteri
    Posted at 09:11h, 25 November Reply

    Happy Thanksgiving to one very smart AND pleasant net-giver!

  • Norman
    Posted at 23:47h, 25 November Reply

    This is profound beyond its few words. Perhaps this is the century when such contributions will determine whether humans have a place in the future of the planet.

    • Jan Rutherford
      Posted at 10:00h, 29 November Reply

      Norman – this means a great deal coming from someone I greatly respect. Thank you.

  • Jennifer Ruwart
    Posted at 21:25h, 30 November Reply

    I love this. I just read it to my husband and son. My 8-year old said (quite dramatically), “It’s important, you know, to be oh so respectful, too.” and then quickly added, “Don’t you think?” Lol. Thank you for sharing this post.

    • Jan Rutherford
      Posted at 21:27h, 30 November Reply

      That is so great to hear, Jennifer. You made my night!

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