Someone asked about Zichan. Confucius said: “He was a generous man.” “And what about Zixi?” “Don’t even mention his name!” “And what about Guan Zhong?” “What a man! He seized over three hundred households in Pian from the head of the Bo family. But even though he was reduced to eating coarse food until the end of his days, the poor man could never bring himself to utter a single word of complaint against him.”
The first impressions you have of someone can be deceptive for any number of reasons. Don’t let them cloud your judgment of the person. The more time you spend with them, the greater the opportunity you will have to evaluate them. Perhaps they’ll exceed your initial expectations or fail to meet them. The only way to find out is to give them a chance to show what they’re truly made of. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: first impressions
Zichan (子產) was the courtesy name of Gongsun Qiao (公孫僑), who was renowned for the brilliance of his leadership as the chief minister of the state of Zheng (鄭) from ca. 544 BCE until his death in ca. 521 BCE.
As chief minister, Zichan managed to expand the territory of Zheng even though it was bordered by the much larger and more powerful states of Chu (楚) and Jin (晉). At the same time, he was successful in carrying out a series of legal, political, economic, and social reforms that strengthened the state and solidified the rule of law. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Zichan
Confucius said of Zichan: “He had four essential qualities of a leader: in his personal conduct he was gracious; in serving his superiors he was respectful; in caring for the common people he was generous; in employing them for public service he was just.”
What are your four strongest personal qualities? This is an important – if perhaps uncomfortable – question to ask yourself. Do you conduct yourself with grace and courtesy? Are you respectful not just towards your bosses but to everyone you come into contact with – including the harried witness who is slow in bringing your dinner to you in a crowded and noisy restaurant? Are you generous in both spirit and material support to people in your community? And care to make sure that your staff don’t feel they have to sacrifice their family and social life to meet your exacting demands? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: your four strongest personal qualities