Confucius said, “A leader who is not serious will not be taken seriously. Still, don’t be inflexible. Take loyalty and sincerity as first principles and don’t make friends with someone who isn’t your moral equal. When you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to fix it.”
Ji Kangzi asked, “How can I get the people to be respectful, loyal, and hard-working?”
Confucius replied, “If you lead the people with dignity, they’ll be respectful. If you’re filial and compassionate, they’ll be loyal. If you promote the skilled and train the unskilled, they’ll be hard-working.”
Duke Ding asked how a leader should employ ministers, and how ministers should serve their leader.
Confucius said, “The leader should employ ministers according to ritual. The ministers should serve their leader with dutifulness and loyalty.”
Zizhang asked Confucius how to accumulate virtue and recognize confusion.
Confucius replied, “Take loyalty and trustworthiness as your first principles, and always move in the direction of what is right. That’s how to accumulate virtue.
“If you love something, you want it to live. If you hate something, you want it to die. If you want something to live and die at the same time, this is confusion.
“‘Not for her wealth,
But just for the novelty.’”
Fan Chi asked about humaneness.
Confucius replied, “Be reverent at home, respectfully attentive in public matters, and loyal in your dealings with others.
“Even if you go and live with barbarians, don’t throw these things away.”
Confucius said, “If you love someone, how can you fail to encourage them to work hard? If you’re loyal to someone, how can you fail to admonish them to do the right thing?”
Confucius said, “A noble person takes care to give attention to nine things. In seeing, to have clear vision. In hearing, to be keen. In expression, to be warm. In attitude, to be courteous. In speech, to be loyal. In service, to be reverent. In doubt, to ask questions. In anger, to think of the consequences. In gaining an advantage, to think of fairness.”