‘Zhu Ge-Liang and role of advisers’ – What we can learn from ancient China?

Blog forum at The China Daily-English

Blog forum at The China Daily-English

In one of my previous blog post, I have tried to present my observations about Zhu Ge-Liang, one of the popular figures in Chinese history. Since then, I happened to read a lot more about Chinese history and discovered a very important aspect. This aspect is still relevant and will continue to be relevant among future leaders.

Those who are familiar with the history of China as well as about Zhu Ge-Liang, they can easily relate to this story. Zhu Ge-Liang was neither a king nor the descendant of any royal family. He was an adviser to Liu Bei, who founded one of the kingdom during the 3 kingdom period after the fall of Han Dynasty. ‘Adviser’ is the key word to understood and they played a key role in shaping history of our nations. Leaders are the one who show us the vision to make things forward, but without the help of these advisers/planners, they hardly know anything.

Either it was construction of Great Wall of China of Centuries old water canal, the role of advisers cannot be neglected. In this blog post, I will try to highlight some of my observation on these ‘advisers’ and why every king wanted to have them. I am basing this from my observation about Zhu Ge-Liang.

1) New ideas: Well, just like the strategist today bring new ideas for any company. I believe, it was the role of some of these (or in some case just one) to bring such new ideas. These advisers were the ones who might have educated more than their own kings. Royal king might have experience of fighting the battles, but putting a kingdom on the path of development would not be possible without all such advisers.

2) Ethically correct: This can be a topic for debate. It is not possible to be certain, whether all the advisers were ethical in their decision making. However, most of them were chosen through strict procedure of GaoKao examination and memorize values of Confucianism. Whether a king is doing something right or not, can be correctly judged by the senior-most advisers.

3) Keeping state interest intact: Advisers were very loyal to the kings they were serving. They put their efforts to keep the state interest intact and did everything to save their serving dynasties. In the case of Zhu-Ge Liang, he was the one who suggested his master Liu bei to go alliance with other when his kingdom has been threatened. He also took the responsibility of developing son of Liu Bei on Liu Bei’s death bed. Along with the convincing skills, Zhu Ge-Liang was also a military strategist and his loyalty to Liu Bei resulted in many of Liu Bei’s success.

4) Judging mood of the people: Other than few centuries in past 2000 years, Chinese history was never without any war among different kingdoms. With kings were always engaged in conflicts and expansions of kingdom, they might not have time to understand what the people actually wants. In my view, these advisers acted as ear and eye of kings giving them proper information of the people’s mood. This could be helpful while planning next taxation system, launching a new scheme or simply justifying reason for going into war.

Modern world is not without advisers. Whether it is a company, government or our own life, there is always someone who advise on important occasions to make things better and useful.

Appeared in The China Daily on 30-06-2015

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