Leadership in Terms of Confucius
Analytical Essay: Oprah in via a Confucian Perspective
When one looks at some of the greatest leaders in history, one thinks of courageous people like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Bill Gates. However, this paper seeks to determine what the most important qualities of a leader really are with regards to the standards set forth by Confucius. The standards set are the ones set by Confucius in regards to what makes an effective leader in terms of the small picture (getting people to do what one wants) and the larger picture (making real change that world needs and requires). This paper will examine the work and life of a living figure: someone who has touched a tremendous number of lives and who has used her advantage and influence to promote good. This paper will examine the life and work of Oprah Winfrey and assess just how she fits perfectly into the parameters of good leadership as stated by Confucius.
Possessing virtue is one manner in which someone can be an effective leader: this is truly and absolutely an important quality to Confucius. Consider the story of Ramayana: the values and virtues of leadership are discussed rather plainly:
"Soft in speech, sedate and peaceful, seeking still the holy path,
Calm in conscious worth and valour, taunt nor cavil waked his wrath,
In the field of war excelling, boldest warrior midst the bold,
In the palace chambers musing on the tales by elders told,
Faithful to the wise and learned, truthful in his deed and word,
Rama dearly loved his people and his people loved...
Oprah Winfrey clearly embodies such qualities. She's someone who has a full staff of advisors who are there to help discuss and strategize with her when it comes to every move that she should or could make given her career and her network. Another quality of leadership that Confucius obviously values is strong reverence to wisdom. Wisdom can be gained through experience and through study: Oprah has very vocally made it clear that this is a priority to her. Winfrey is very public about her struggles throughout childhood and life, sharing her childhood of abuse and discussing how she taught herself to read, being previously illiterate. This is someone who got to her success through a great deal of struggle and who thus gained an enormous amount of wisdom throughout the way. Oprah also uses her power as a trusted media personality to promote reading. Oprah had a book club long before it was popular and was someone who urged Americans to start reading again. This is a highly virtuous quality: Oprah is someone who values education and wants to use the power of her influence to get others to value it as well and to see the good that is inherent within it.
Another aspect of the virtue of leadership that is itemized by Confucius is the statement "In the palace chambers musing on the tales by elders told," (Overton, 333). This is strongly evocative of the manner in which Oprah is very vocal about her lifelong friendship with Maya Angelou. Angelou was a wiser elder and Oprah never hesitated to have her on the show and never hesitated to discuss the insights and wisdom that Angelou provided.…
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