Serious leaders; not obnoxious

Professor Mario de Abreu was a prominent man. He knew a lot and never made a mistaken prognostic. Hence he was the most respected and feared professor at University. With no doubt, he was a very serious man. Once, at the University, some friends and I entered the lift, which had a note on the notice board announcing that professor Mario’s exam was scheduled for the following week, on Wednesday 3 April. Nevertheless, Wednesday would be on the 4th, not on the 3rd.


While we commented the mistake the door opened and guess who entered the lift? The terror himself! It was all silent, until someone dared to ask the old professor if the exam was actually going to be on the 3rd or on Wednesday. The professor looked at the note, and keeping the same untouchable tone, he replied with another question: “What do you think?” It was when another colleague, from the back of the lift, said something unthinkable: “Whoever makes the day right already gets 2 points on the exam.” We imagined that the bold guy was going to be blasted by the professor, but for our surprise, he said: “How good it is to keep the good mood and joy in the heart. Hold on to that, young man.” He smiled and left the lift without clarifying the question. Since then we started to note that professor Mario, the wisest man we knew, was endowed with a fine pleasant humour, which was present in the most difficult situations, and complicated decisions. He always found a way to uncloud the atmosphere and motivate people. His preceding fame was unfair. He didn’t accept lack of attention, incompetence, or disrespect, but he used to appreciate intelligent humour.


Life taught me that seriousness is important for the career, but we have to redefine seriousness. Serious engaged professionals are always improving and searching excellence. When seriousness is translated to commitment (with the company or with workmates), it is related to result. Although, seriousness meaning not being cranky. Leaders that can unite seriousness with good mood are more likely to create pleasant atmospheres and achieve higher performances.


By the way, the exam was on Wednesday, when we actually had classes with professor Mario, a very good-humoured serious man.


Translation: Melissa Mussak ([email protected])