A contrast in leadership styles

子曰:「君子易事而難說也,說之不以道,不說也,及其使人也,器之。小人難事而易說也,說之雖不以道,說也,及其使人也,求備焉。」
Confucius said: “A leader is easy to work for but hard to please. If you try to please him without following the proper way he will not be happy, but he will only give you tasks you have the ability to carry out. A petty person is hard to work for, but easy to please. If you try to please him, even without following the proper way, he will be happy, but he demands that you have the ability to do anything.”

This passage perfectly encapsulates the difference between a good leader and a poor leader. A good leader makes a realistic assessment of his people’s abilities and enables them to make the best use of them by placing them in the most appropriate position and making sure that they follow the right processes.

A poor leader, on the other hand, is only interested in how his people can make him look good and is easily swayed by ones who suck up to him – until of course they inevitably screw up and are replaced by a new set of cronies.

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