Tag Archives: Confucius on Zigong

Leadership lessons from Confucius: fit for government office?

fit for government office

季康子問:「仲由可使從政也與?」子曰:「由也果,於從政乎何有?」曰:「賜也可使從政也與?」曰:「賜也達,於從政乎何有?」曰:「求也可使從政也與?」曰:「求也藝,於從政乎何有?」
Ji Kangzi asked: “Is Zilu fit for government office?” Confucius said: “Zilu is resolute. Why isn’t he fit for government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Zigong fit for government office?” Confucius said: “Zigong is intelligent. Why isn’t he fit for government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Ran Qiu fit to be appointed to government office?” Confucius said: “Ran Qiu has many talents. Why isn’t he fit for government office?” (1) (2) (3) (4)

Will recruitment ever become a fully-automated process? One in which your magical AI assistant already has the perfect candidate lined up for you even before you have decided to hire someone new. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: fit for government office?

Leadership lessons from Confucius: beyond your reach?

beyond your reach

子貢曰:「我不欲人之加諸我也,吾亦欲無加諸人。」子曰:「賜也,非爾所及也。」
Zigong said: “I wouldn’t want to do to others what I wouldn’t want them to do to me.” Confucius said: “Ah, Zigong! That’s beyond your reach.” (1) (2)

There’s a huge gap between words and action. In theory, it shouldn’t be that difficult to follow the so-called Golden Rule by treating others in the same way you expect to be treated yourself. In practice, however, even the most virtuous among us fail to live up to the standards we set ourselves. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: beyond your reach?

Leadership lessons from Confucius: avoiding favoritism

avoiding favoritism

子謂子貢曰:「女與回也,孰愈?」對曰:「賜也,何敢望回?回也,聞一以知十,賜也聞一知二。」子曰:「弗如也,吾與女,弗如也。」
Confucius asked Zigong: “Who is better, you or Yan Hui?” Zigong replied: “How can I compare myself with Yan Hui? When he learns one thing, he gets to understand ten more things; but if I learn one thing, I only get to understand two more things.” Confucius said: “You’re certainly not his equal and neither am I.”

It’s unwise to play favorites among your team members. You’ll only end up putting unreasonable pressure on your anointed one to meet your heightened expectations and fueling resentment among everyone else. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: avoiding favoritism

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a precious sacrificial utensil

a precious sacrificial utensil

子貢問曰:「賜也何如?」子曰:「女器也。」曰:「何器也?」曰:「瑚璉也。」
Zigong asked: “What do you think of me?” Confucius said: “You’re a utensil.” “What sort of utensil?” “A precious sacrificial utensil.” (1) (2)

Just because someone asks you a straight question, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want you to give them a straight answer. Consider the possible reasons they may be raising the question before blurting out an answer and having to hastily correct yourself like Confucius does in this passage. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a precious sacrificial utensil

Followers of Confucius: Zigong

Zigong (子貢) was known by a variety of different names, including Duanmu Ci (端木賜), Duanmu Zigong (端木子貢), Duanmu Zigan (端木子贛), and Wei Ci (衛賜).

Born in 520 BCE, Zigong was a native of the state of Wei and had already established himself as a successful and wealthy businessman in the states of Cao and Lu by the time he met Confucius. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Zigong