Confucius was a popular Chinese Philosopher and Educator. The central theme around all his teachings is the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”
Jesus Christ preached same.
What can we learn from Confucius aside the Golden Rule?
We can learn maxims for building better work relationships. Maxims that will help you not step on the wrong toes. Maxims that will help you survive the murky waters of office politics.
“Not too isolated. Not too many relationships. The middle, that’s wisdom.”— Confucius
Trying to be friends with everyone at work is a recipe for disaster.
Some colleagues should be in the “hi hi” category. Some others should be close confidantes, only after you’ve tried and tested them. And you’ve no doubt that they’ve your back.
Trying to be a loner at work is a recipe for even greater disaster. The guy who goes to the canteen alone. The lady who never speaks to anyone except her direct boss from start to end of work.
To get anywhere in life, you’ll need people. Being a loner is a big NO! So you must find a clique that suits your purpose in the firm early enough, and then go everywhere with them. Quality over quantity. Make your circle small, but remain jovial when you are with others not on your clique.
“Grieve not that men do not know you; grieve that you do not know men”— Confucius
You gain nothing by rolling with the wrong crowd.
The backbenchers. The slugabeds. The pessimists.
Push to be in the good books of the right people. It’s easy to get reward for hard work when you’re liked by the right men. Know the right people. Let your contact be filled with people that matter, not leeches. That’s the way to climb the ladder with less friction.
“When Three People Work Together, Each Can Be The Teacher In Some Aspects”— Confucius
Learn to relax and listen to members of your team.
No matter how smart you are, you can’t possibly know everything. Make it a habit to learn something new from your team every day.
Give them (bosses and subordinates alike) enough space to teach you. Ask them what they think. Let them feel valued. Let them use their brain.
In the long run, the team wins because everyone gets better when knowledge is shared.
“Don’t Complain About The Snow on Your Neighbor’s Roof When Your Own Doorstep Is Unclean.”— Confucius
This is a simple variant of the Golden Rule laid down by Jesus Christ in the Bible, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”
Nothing drives resentment like calling out colleagues for faults you yourself have.
Have a simple law: “until I conquer a fault in me, I’d never lash out on my colleague who has the same fault.”
Greatness comes from overcoming your weakness, not badmouthing others.
“I Used to Listen to What Others Said and Expect Them to Act Accordingly. But Nowadays, I Listen to What They Say and Then Observe What They Do.”— Confucius
Expectations can ruin you. Not having them is one way to have zero stress at work.
For example, a new associate on your team mentions that they’d do a task perfectly. Listen then plan to review when they are done. Or your boss promises you a promotion during year end review meeting.
Don’t hinge your life around it, singing the good news to everyone as if you were already in that position. If the promotion doesn’t happen, you may be too ashamed to keep working there. Or you may lose your motivation to work.
Expectation is the enemy. Don’t let it take root in you.
“What you dislike in your superiors, avoid doing to your inferiors. What you dislike in your inferiors, avoid doing when working for your superiors. What you hate in those who are in front of you, do not do to those behind you.”— Confucius
Building better relationships at work is tough. You have to manage the attitudes of a diverse set of people.
Most of these people are broken from their past and immediate life experiences. So they try to lash out often to ease the turmoil going on inside them.
To succeed, you must see these signs and avoid becoming what you hate.
“Virtue is not Solitary. It’s bound to have neighbors.”— Confucius
You can’t flourish for long in bad company.
You need to be around people with similar energy and drive. If not, you could take one step forward and 100 steps backwards.
Look for high integrity people, firms or industries. Then spend your time growing your network with them.
Have long term view with high virtue people.