Confucius said: “If a leader behaves in the correct manner everything will operate smoothly even if they don’t issue orders. If a leader doesn’t behave in the correct manner, nobody will listen even if they do issue orders.”
If you’re not taking the right path, how can you expect others to follow you along it? If you don’t conduct yourself in the correct manner, how can you expect others to act in the right way? As so many autocrats have learned to their cost during the course of history, no amount of force is strong enough to compel people to blindly follow you. Even if repression works in the short term, it will ultimately result in your downfall – not to mention untold harm to everyone who has suffered from your hubris. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the correct manner
One very good reason to study the Analects of Confucius and the Daodejing is that, for all the archaic and in the latter case mystic language they feature, these two ancient works focus on providing practical solutions to real-world problems.
Unlike many of the works in the Western philosophical cannon, neither text features an agonized search for a universal “truth” or any promises of eternal salvation for ascribing to the “right” set of values or behaving in the “correct” manner. Instead, they are concerned with dealing with the challenges of the here and now, exploring how you can improve your character to make a greater contribution to the stability and prosperity of your family, community, and society overall. Continue reading Situational leadership in the Analects and the Daodejing
No matter how intractable a problem appears to be at first sight, there’s always a way to solve it if you examine it from all possible angles rather than rushing into dealing it with the first possible answer that comes into your head. Continue reading Effortless action
The definition of wuwei (無為) is much more subtle than simply “take no action” or “do nothing”; more strictly speaking, it means “don’t interfere” or “only act when it is absolutely necessary”. Continue reading Take no action
The Daoist principle of effortless action (無為/wuwei) should apply to everything we do no matter whether we are balancing the books or tying a knot. The only way we can achieve it is by assiduously cultivating the Dao like a great athlete training to ensure that they are “in the zone” for a major competition. Continue reading In the zone