Confucius Analects – Leadership by example
13.1 Quality of leaders affect quality of leadership
The Master said, ‘When a prince’s personal conduct is correct, his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed.’
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There is a Chinese saying “When the upper beam is not upright, the lower beams are usually slanted as well.” (上樑不正下樑歪). Here Confucius explained that the most powerful attribute in leadership – by example. When the leader is not showing a good example, it will be difficult for him/her to motivate or manage his/her followers. On the other hand, when the leader in performing his/her roles brilliantly, the followers are naturally motivated.
This wisdom is applicable in all types of human relationship such as at workplace, at school, at home, etc. Look around, find out leaders who motivate by their examples, learn from them, and follow them.