Lead by example

子路問「政」。子曰:「先之,勞之。」請益。曰:「無倦。」
Zilu asked about governance. Confucius said: “Lead the people by example. Work hard for them.” Zilu asked him for further instruction. Confucius said: “Tirelessly.”

Like Book 12, Book 13 of the Analects mainly covers the subject of governance. One of its key themes is leadership by example – though judging by the frequency with which Confucius raises the subject this quality must have been as rare among the political classes of his times as it is among our own today.

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