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One of the greatest virtues which many attributes to Confucius is his perspective of leadership. For instance, he states that leadership is about virtue which means that one has to set a good example when he is a leader. In terms of its relevance, leaders in the business environment have been looking for ways through which they can lead their companies to greater heights of success. It is therefore important that leaders incorporate the analects of Confucius to their leadership styles. The three ultimate lessons that we can learn from the analects of Confucius are: Leaders should practice virtue, they should rule wisely and fairly and lastly, they need to think before they can act.
Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue."(Confucius, 63) It is not wise for a leader to strive at all times to make money, but should consider the supremacy of virtue. In carrying out business, Confucius encourages that we be able to carry out our transactions ethically. Those who have made great strides in the community are considered to have done so with honest work and virtue and hence they are revered.
Chi K'ang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, "Let him preside over them with gravity; then they will reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all; then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent; then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous."(Confucius, 170) Leaders should never forget to take care of those who have been entrusted into their care. Confucius deeply laments the idea that people have neglected the principles that have propelled them into leadership positions, and as a result, failed to honor their promises. Instead of helping people, they tend to seek ways through which they can be rich in the community.
Chi Wan thought three times before taking action. When the Master was informed of it, he said, "Twice will do." Present leaders should think about the consequences of their action before acting. However, leaders should not take too long before deciding on an effective solution. In order for leaders to be smart, they need to think twice before acting.
The thousands and one night
The story of the Merchants and the genie is one of the interesting episodes found in the thousands and one night. It is a story about taking responsibility for our actions despite the great wealth and power we yield. The merchant goes on a journey and while eating in one of his return journey, he starts throwing away the stones all over the place. Ion real sense, it is an indication that we should be careful in what we do. For instance throwing food after we have consumed can signify that we don’t care about the environment and this can cause harm to others. The result of this carelessness is that the merchant kills the son of the Genie, ' How can I have slain thy son?(Mardrus & Mathers).
The other aspect of the story is the need to share our wealth equally before we can die. This will assist in eradicating problems that can arise when the children fight over the inheritance. A leader must demonstrate the care for those left behind by ensuring that they are left in peace. 'One word more, I entreat the give me time to go and take leave of my wife and children and divide my estate among them, as I have not yet made my will; and when I have set my house in order, I promise to return to this spot, and submit myself to thee (Mardrus & Mathers). The merchant is mindful about his children and wife and having known that his house is not in order, he begs to do it first before coming back to face his death.
The merchants own up to his mistakes and accept to die having caused the death of the Genie’s son. It is a wakeup call to the leaders of our generations who in spite of governing the people with dictatorial means, will still want to eat the cake and have it too. 'Get up, that I may kill thee as thou hast slain my son.'(Mardrus & Mathers)