Analects Book 4: on leadership


The ability to assess a given situation objectively and take the most appropriate action based on the facts of it is one of the key leadership qualities that Confucius highlights in Book 4 of the Analects.

In Chapter X, he comments: “In dealing with the world, a leader has no prejudice or bias: he takes the side of what is right.” In Chapter XVI, he further emphasizes the point when he says, “A leader is concerned about what is right; a small-minded man is concerned about what is in his own interest.”

In contrast to a small-minded man, a leader also cherishes “virtue” and “respect for the law.” He does not prize material possessions or attempt to find loopholes in the legal system that enable him to gain exemptions from it.

Thus, “A leader never abandons goodness, even for as long as it takes to eat a single meal.” Even in the most difficult situations, he stays true to the path and never deviates from it.

To learn more about Confucius’s approach to objective thinking, please click here.

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