“Elegance is an attitude” – Karl Lagerfeld
If leaders were places, mine would be Torino, as a symbol of class, beauty and character.
The city where I grew up made me breathe its elegance for years in its arcades with lanterns, the river alongside the hills, the Alps all around, the symmetry and the angles of perspective. Torino is sober, does not talk out loud; it puts its focus to details and interiors, unfolds in the courtyards and galleries, which are not visible at first sight. Torino expresses elegance at every corner: in its historical cafés and buildings, its boutiques and the linear and neat cut of clothes.
The word elegance stems from the Latin word eligire, that means, to choose, to select. It is the quality that conveys aesthetic distinction, good taste and class. Therefore, elegance comes from an action, the act of choosing grace and simplicity over ostentation and noise.
Leaders that choose elegance are like Torino, a master of style. They express fineness, taste and simplicity in what they say and how they deal with people. Their decorum is tangible in how they dress but, most importantly, in their manners: they transpire genuineness and naturalness and do not need to raise their voice to be heard. They are elegance in motion as they keep their attitude while facing troubles, difficult calls, demanding customers and sometimes, unfair expectations. These leaders keep their poise as if they were aware that so much of what happens in daily life will soon fade away, but elegance will be remembered forever.
Personally, I believe this trait is often underestimated, precisely as it is not so flamboyant or glamourous. Like many other crucial aspects of leadership, as for example reputation, elegance gains value and pays off with time. Having Torino as part of my life, I am committed to observe the city and learn from its soul year after year, hoping to bring some of that character with me when I travel the world.
Which is your place of elegance? What makes it unique for you?