ManCore Leadership Program

Helping Boys Become Men

ManCore Leadership Program's 3 Components of Manhood

By Phillip S. Williams

Like it or not, it takes work to achieve manhood. Cultures around the world have rites of passage to symbolize it, as well as customs to preserve it. This list focuses on some of the most important , yet basic, aspects of the journey from boyhood to manhood.

Although there is no one way to categorize manliness, there are certain attributes that people all around the world consider "manly." 
We focus on the 3 most important components of manhood throughout the ManCore Leadership Program.

Mind- Body- Spirit

1.) Know yourself.
Find out who you are and be happy with that person. There's no one way to be a man. A real man can be a garbage man who wears dirty clothes, but takes care of his responsibilities; a real man can also be a professor who talks about Shakespeare, but also knows how to respect women. All men, however, know who they are and respect themselves in and out.

2.) Be knowledgeable about something.
It doesn't really matter what it is, but you should consider yourself pretty familiar with one area of expertise. Men may not be able to — or want to — use fancy, two-dollar words, but when it comes time to getting things done, they know how to act. They use their smarts to get it done. Learn a new language, how to work with your hands, or something about art, music, a region of the world, etc. The key is to know something and learn about something that makes you unique.

3.) Know when you've made a mistake and know when to say "I'm sorry."  There's nothing wrong with making a mistake. Only the insecure man thinks that making a mistake is bad, because he's not comfortable with who he is in the first place. Confident men know when they're wrong and aren't afraid to admit it.

4.) Know the man-code.
What is the man-code? The man-code is an unwritten set of rules that men live by, often evolving but rarely changing. Take the man-code seriously when you can. It tells other men that you respect them as much as you respect yourself.

5.) Let go of self-destructive thoughts or customs. Understand that all men in all cultures may have, to some extent, been socialized in ways that may be psychologically and culturally damaging, and may bring unhappiness. The first step in creating a sense of self in manhood is to examine the environment in which you were raised, as objectively as you can. You are as much a part of where you come from as you are a part of where you are going.


1.)  Groom yourself. A man knows that grooming himself is essential, even if there's no one around to marvel at his perfectly kempt beard or hair cut. A man fits grooming into his busy schedule. Shower, bathe, cut your hair and finger nails regularly. Not necessarily at the top of a man's list of grooming necessities, manicures are nonetheless important. Higher up on the list is a good haircut, clean teeth and good skin.

2.)  Exercise. Being a man doesn't mean you need to be ripped. It does mean you need to take care of your body.

3.)  Wear clothes that fit you.
Your clothes don't need to be designer or cost a lot. They do, however, need to fit you. Not all men are muscular and stocky, and therefore don't look great in baggy, loose-fitting clothes. Although skinny pants are popular nowadays, your pants should have a belt and not hang off your butt.

4.)  Go to the doctor. 
He may not be the most popular person when you are healthy, but when you get sick he/she should be one of the first person you call. Get to know your doctor and he will help you learn about your body.


1.)  Develop your own principles. 

A man isn't always comfortable being judge, jury, and executioner, but he knows right from wrong and expects others to play by the same rules. Look inside yourself and ask: would I want someone else doing that to me? This should help you develop principles to live by. A man never steals, even if he is desperate. A desperate man learns to ask others to help him instead of helping himself to something he is not entitled to. A man helps others in need. He knows when others are down on their luck and need a helping hand, even if the utility lies in the gesture itself. A man trusts his friends, significant others, and family. He follows through with what he says he'll do and expects others to do the same. A man never lies — to himself or others. He develops a conscience that gives him good feedback and allows him to be comfortable with the truth, even if it hurts.

2.)  Be ambitious in your own way.
Men are naturally ambitious. We want to be breadwinners and have the admiration and respect of our peers. Not all men choose the same career paths, however, so ambition doesn't always amount to the same thing. Whatever career or profession you choose (you may have many), set goals for yourself, live up to or exceed them, and reinvent yourself whenever you need to. Define your own idea of success.

3.)  Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
The main difference between a man and a boy, and adult and a child, is that men are responsible. Men honor their commitments, accept their duties and are accountable for their actions. Men clean up after themselves.

4.)  Learn to make sacrifices for the people you love and care about.
The difference between a man and a boy is that a man steps up to the plate, while a boy hesitates or complains. Especially for the people in his life that he loves, a man looks at sacrifice as his duty — unpleasant but impossible to avoid.

5.) Be a gentleman.
Your inner gentleman tells you the things to do that you know you should — but sometimes are too lazy — to do. Opening doors, letting a lady have your seat on the bus or metro, and saying "please" and "thank you." Generally putting the lady in question ahead of yourself out of respect.  Being a gracious loser. Men are naturally competitive, making this a tough one for some. Accept defeat with the same grace that you accept victory. Easier said than done.

6.)  Be a good man.
Integrity is doing the right thing, for the right reason, even when no one is watching. It can be tempting to think that by meeting your self-defined responsibilities as a man, your job is done, but that doesn't always make you a good person. Never stop trying to do the right thing and re-evaluating your character and integrity. If you're going to be a man, be a good man, or else it's no better than remaining a boy.