Here is a list of resources covering Book 2 of the Analects of Confucius. You can click on the links below to learn more about the main themes of the book, including governance, leadership, and learning: Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 2: resources
Confucius said: “People who act out of self-interest cause great resentment.” (1)
Whenever you are about to make a difficult decision, take a step back and examine your motives before pulling the trigger. Have you chosen a particular course of action because it is the right thing to do or because it is in your self-interest?
Confucius said: “A leader pursues virtue; a petty person pursues land. A leader pursues justice; a petty person pursues favors.”
What is your goal in life? To accumulate material comforts or to pursue a higher path?
Confucius said: “In dealing with the world, a leader has no prejudice or bias: he goes with what is right.”
Approach your day with an open mind. There will inevitably be problems that you need to address and differences of opinion that you have to resolve.
Leadership wasn’t a theoretical concept to Confucius. It was rather a set of qualities and behaviors that you as a leader (君子/jūnzǐ) should cultivate in order to guide your thoughts and actions. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on leadership qualities
Someone asked Confucius: “Sir, why don’t you take part in government?” Confucius replied: “In the Book of Documents it says: ‘By being filial to your parents and being kind to your brothers, you’re already contributing to the smooth running of the government.’ Since I’m already doing this, why do I need to take part in government?” (1)
You don’t need to have an official title in order to assume a leadership position in your organization or community. By being kind and considerate towards the people around you, you will soon be able to gain their trust and confidence. The more you show that you appreciate the suggestions and feedback they give you, the more they will appreciate the suggestions and feedback you give them. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: kindness and respect
Ji Kangzi asked: “What should I do to make the people respectful, loyal, and diligent? Confucius said: “Treat them with dignity, and they will be respectful. Be filial to your parents and kind to the young, and they will be loyal. Promote those who are capable and teach those who are not, and they will be diligent.” (1)
Position power will only get you so far. No matter how grand your title is, people will only show you respect if you treat them in the same way. They will only show you loyalty if you act in the same manner. They will only work hard if you reward high performance and provide opportunities for everyone to achieve the same level. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: position power
Duke Ai asked: “What should I do to win the support of the people?” Confucius replied: “Promote the upright and place them above the crooked, and the people will support you. Promote the crooked and place them above the upright, and the people will not support you.” (1) (2)
What criteria do you use to select people for leadership positions in your organization? Talent is critical of course. So too is a strong track record of delivering results. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are also vital. The list is endless. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: on integrity
Confucius said: “Zilu, let me tell you what knowledge means. Knowing what you know and what you don’t know. That is what knowledge means.”
It can be very tempting to pretend that you understand what someone is droning on about during a meeting or presentation out of fear of looking stupid in front of everyone else. Tempting but stupid, because the likelihood is that if you don’t have the foggiest idea of what the person is talking about then most of the other people in the room don’t either! Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: dumb questions
Confucius said: “Focusing your attention only on the extremes will lead to nothing but harm.” (1)
How to make sense of what is really happening on the ground when our media and social media channels are filled with loud screeching voices proclaiming the end of the world as we know it and demanding instant solutions to an infinite number of “existential” crises? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: between the two extremes