Tag Archives: Analects Book 4

Leadership lessons from Confucius: people’s flaws

people's faults

子曰:「人之過也,各於其黨。觀過,斯知仁矣。」
Confucius said: “People’s flaws reveal the type of person they are. By observing someone’s flaws, you’ll understand the true extent of their goodness.”

By all means listen to what other people have to say, but it’s only when you quietly observe what they actually do that you will understand their true character. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: people’s flaws

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a good rant

good rant

子曰:「我未見好仁者,惡不仁者。好仁者,無以尚之;惡不仁者,其為仁矣,不使不仁者加乎其身。有能一日用其力於仁矣乎?我未見力不足者。蓋有之矣,我未之見也。」
Confucius said: “I’ve never seen anyone who truly loves goodness and truly detests evil. Anyone who truly loves goodness would place nothing above it; anyone who truly detests evil would practice goodness in such a way that they would allow no evil to enter them. Is there anyone with the ability to devote all their strength to goodness for a single day? I’ve never seen anyone whose strength is insufficient. There may be people who don’t have even the small amount of strength it takes, but I’ve never seen them.”

There’s nothing wrong with having a good rant now and then to get things off your chest. Except of course you should realize that harsh words and blanket condemnations are more likely to have a counter-productive effect on the people you are trying to sway than persuade them to follow your way. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a good rant

Leadership lessons from Confucius: riches and rank

riches and rank

子曰:「富與貴,是人之所欲也,不以其道得之,不處也。貧與賤,是人之惡也,不以其道得之,不去也。君子去仁,惡乎成名。君子無終食之間違仁,造次必於是,顛沛必於是。」
Confucius said: “Riches and rank are what people desire; but if they can only obtain them through improper ways, they should not pursue them. Poverty and obscurity are what people detest; but if they can only escape from them through improper ways, they should accept them. If a leader abandons goodness, how can he live up to that name? A leader never abandons goodness, even for as long as it takes to eat a single meal; in moments of haste and confusion he still stays true to it.”

How to stick to your core values and beliefs through thick and thin? The lure of “riches and rank” and the fear of “poverty and obscurity” are too great for most mere mortals to resist. A true leader is as rare as a pearl in an oyster bed. Or perhaps one doesn’t really exist except as an ideal to aspire to. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: riches and rank

Leadership lessons from Confucius: rush to judgement

rush to judgement

子曰:「惟仁者,能好人,能惡人。」
Confucius said: “Only a person who possesses goodness can love people and can hate people.”

Best not to rush to judgement about other people. Best not to idolize or demonize them either. Remain calm and dispassionate in evaluating what they do and what they say. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: rush to judgement

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the path of goodness

path of goodness

子曰:「不仁者,不可以久處約,不可以長處樂。仁者安仁,知者利仁。」
Confucius said: “A person who lacks goodness cannot endure adversity or enjoy happiness for long. A person who possesses goodness finds contentment in it; a wise person profits from it.”

How to keep going when you’re on the point of giving up because the odds are stacked against you? How to maintain your zest for life when all the bright and sparkling objects you’ve accumulated as a result of your success and wealth have lost their shine? In other words, how do you stay balanced when you’re being buffeted by powerful winds from all sides?

Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the path of goodness

Leadership lessons from Confucius: filled with goodness

filled with goodness

子曰:「里仁為美。擇不處仁,焉得知?」
Confucius said: “It’s beautiful to live in a neighborhood that’s filled with goodness. How can someone be wise if they choose to live in a place that lacks goodness?” (1)

Think carefully before choosing which organization to work for. While reputation, salary package, and future prospects are important, the key factor in your decision should be its culture. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: filled with goodness