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Confucius on Leadership


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Leadership wasn’t a theoretical concept to Confucius. It was rather a set of qualities and behaviors that you should cultivate in order to guide your thoughts and actions.

This presentation summarizes some of the most important characteristics that Confucius believed a leader (君子/jūnzǐ) should possess using quotes from Book 1 of the Analects.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Confucius on Leadership

  1. 1. Confucius on Leadership Book 1 of the Analects 君子
  2. 2. The Model Leader jūnzǐ “gentleman”, “nobleman”, “superior man”, “man of superior order”, “man of virtue”, “ideal man”, “cultivated man”, “exemplary man”, “refined man” 君子
  3. 3. Persevere without expecting any rewards “To remain unconcerned when others don’t recognize your talents: isn’t this the mark of a leader?” Book 1, Chapter 1 The Analects 「人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」
  4. 4. Take your work seriously Book 1, Chapter 8 The Analects “If a leader isn’t serious he will inspire no awe and lack a solid foundation for learning.” 「君子不重,則不威,學則不固。」
  5. 5. Be loyal and trustworthy Book 1, Chapter 8 The Analects “Hold loyalty and trustworthiness as your highest principles” 「主忠信」
  6. 6. Surround yourself with the right people Book 1, Chapter 14 The Analects “A leader …. keeps the company of others who possess the Way so that he can be corrected by them. ” 「君子…. 敏於事而慎於言, 就有道而正焉」
  7. 7. Recognize and correct your mistakes Book 1, Chapter 8 The Analects “When you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to correct yourself” 「過則勿憚改」
  8. 8. Stay humble Book 1, Chapter 14 The Analects “A leader eats without stuffing his belly (and) chooses a home without demanding comfort” 「君子食無求飽,居無求安」
  9. 9. Be decisive but cautious Book 1, Chapter 14 The Analects “A leader … is quick to act but careful in what he says” 「君子… 敏於事而慎於言」
  10. 10. Leadership Qualities Seriousness Decisiveness Self-improving Humility Judgment Perseverance Loyalty Humility Caution 君子 Trustworthiness