McLeish is particularly full of praise for the change in attitude of central defender Roger Johnson towards match officials.
And he revealed World Cup final referee Howard Webb gave the thumbs up to the greater self-control being shown by City after the recent derby with Aston Villa.
McLeish said: "When I matured as a player I did learn to talk to refs in the right way.
"I always had a good rapport with refs later in my career and certainly I don't berate refs in the modern day.
"We are all aggrieved at certain decisions, there is no doubt about it, and you can't hide that emotion, but at the same time it is a tough job the refs have got."
McLeish, whose side visit Stoke on Tuesday evening, added: "Take Roger Johnson, he has been much better behaved in terms of talking to refs.
"I think there is a nice way to do it and a better way than slaughtering the ref for a decision on the field of play. Roger has got better at that.
"But after the recent Villa derby Howard Webb told me the disciplinary side of things with all our players was exemplary.
"It is a big credit to the players and it shows they are learning."