Tag Archives: Trust

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: rash promises

rash promises

有子曰:「信近於義,言可復也。恭近於禮,遠恥辱也。因不失其親,亦可宗也。」
Youzi said: “If your commitments conform to what is right, you will be able to keep your word. If your manners conform to the rites, you will be able to avoid shame and disgrace. Only if you associate with reliable people will you be successful.”

Making rash promises that you have no hope or intention of fulfilling is a sure way of eroding the trust that people have in you. You might be able to get away with it for a while through sheer force of personality or verbal dexterity, but eventually the chickens will come home to roost and your credibility will be destroyed. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: rash promises

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: a steady hand

steady hand

子曰:「道千乘之國,敬事而信,節用而愛人,使民以時。」
The Master said: “The way to rule a thousand-chariot state is to devote yourself to its affairs and fulfill your commitments; be economical in expenditure and love your subordinates; and mobilize the common people for labor at the right time of the year.” (1) (2)

No matter how large the group or organization you lead is, the principles you should follow in order to create a productive and harmonious culture remain the same: show a strong work ethic and live up to the promises you make; keep operational costs to minimum and care for the people you work with; and don’t make unnecessary demands on them unless it is absolutely necessary.

Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: a steady hand

Trust in government

子貢問「政」。子曰:「足食,足兵,民信之矣。」子貢曰:「必不得已而去,於斯三者何先?」曰:「去兵。」子貢曰:「必不得已而去,於斯二者何先?」曰:「去食。自古皆有死,民無信不立。」
Zigong asked about governance. Confucius said: “Enough food, enough weapons, and the trust of the people.” Zigong said: “If you had to go without one of these three, which one would you give up?” Confucius replied: “Weapons.” Zigong asked: “If you had to go without one of the remaining two, which one would you give up?” Confucius replied: “Food; from ancient times, death has been the fate of all men. But without the trust of the people, the government cannot stand.”

Trust in government: now there’s an interesting concept. Continue reading Trust in government

Trust

子曰:「人而無信,不知其可也。大車無輗,小車無軏,其何以行之哉?」
Confucius said: “I wouldn’t know what to do with someone whose word cannot be trusted. How would you pull a wagon without a yoke-bar or a chariot without a collar-bar?”

I don’t have much to add to this to this famous saying of Confucius . Trust is the key to all human relationships. Once it is broken, it is very difficult to rebuild.