0 Cart
0 Add all flipped products to cart Flipped

Boardroom brawl: Can political appointees be taught elegance?

Monkey business in the boardroom: Can Malaysia break the cycle?

Picture: Boggi Milano

Monkey business in the boardroom: Can Malaysia break the cycle?

Question from Mr. H (real name is undisclosed):

Just want to touch about board room elegance since you brought it up on your site (Link : https://gentlemanscodes.com/etiquette/boardroom-elegance-how-to-conduct-yourself-like-a-true-gentleman). 

Our problem here is, our board members are mostly political appointees who do not have proper qualification so when it comes to Board meetings, it's pretty much like in the parliament. Best example is to take a look at our parliament which akin to a night market, calling other members nasty names, Some even insult other members brains! It seems like this is a Malaysian culture which cannot be fixed. It has been like this since our father days. If board members continue to be political appointees, you can never change the board culture. Question is, how can we educate this political appointees to behave appropriately? They work or have worked with many prime ministers yet they behave like animals in parliament so how can we discipline them if their own Prime Minister who they serve or Party leaders who they serve can't tame them? If my subordinates speak like that in a board meeting, I would definitely call them and talk to them personally so they know that is not the right way but for this political appointees, their prime minister or party leader simply do not care about their behaviors. It's because they are all cronies, best friends so they need to take care of the relationship. if their party members walk away, they lose the majority so the PMs or the Party Leaders can't do anything because they fear it would jeopardize their support.

So how can we tackle this? The only solution is not to appoint a political appointee but then that is like changing our political culture. Who has the guts to do that?

Something to ponder here.

Answer by The Gentleman:

Hey there, Mr. H!

Your email about boardroom elegance had me chuckling - "night market" in the boardroom, that's a goldmine! I completely understand your frustration. Political appointees can be a different breed altogether compared to your typical board member with years of experience under their belt.

While our guide on Gentleman's Code: Boardroom Elegance might not be a magic stick to transform these politicians into etiquette paragons, there could be some creative solutions we can explore together.

Firstly, let's move beyond "etiquette" lessons and focus on establishing clear expectations for boardroom behavior. Think about a formal code of conduct, or even pre-meeting reminders that outline the ground rules for respectful discourse. This sets a clear standard for everyone involved and avoids any ambiguity.

Secondly, within the confines of the current system, is there any space to advocate for merit-based appointments alongside the political ones? A board with a mix of qualified individuals and political figures could potentially shift the dynamic and introduce a more professional tone to the discussions. It's a long shot, for sure, but it's worth exploring the possibilities.

Sure, changing the entire political culture is a monumental task, but hey, your email could be the spark that ignites a much-needed conversation! Who knows, maybe it'll inspire others to push for positive change and raised the bar.

In the meantime, to cope with the current situation, noise-cancelling headphones might be a temporary sanity saver during those particularly heated meetings.

Seriously though, keep me updated on what strategies you try. I'm curious to see how things unfold, and maybe together we can brainstorm some additional solutions down the line.


Gentlemen's Code has your back! We're thrilled to announce our brand new section on our website: "Ask the Gentleman". Submit your burning questions on all things relationships, culture, style, and etiquette by emailing to: editor@gentlemanscodes.com.

Our experts are here to guide you on your path to becoming a true gentleman.

Related posts