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字如其人-Calligraphy is a mirror of a person’s character.

It is often said that a person’s calligraphy style can tell us much about their character. It can serve as a reflection of the person’s personality and leadership qualities.

Water-like leadership philosophy originates from the Chinese proverb 上善若水(Shang Shan Ruo Shui), which translates to ” The highest form of good is that of water”. It dates back to Lao Zi in the 400 BC. 

Water-like leadership encourages us to show kindness and empathy towards others, as well as appreciate the gifts and talents we all possess. By understanding that everyone has something special to offer, the message of this ancient proverb reminds us that we all need one another and emphasizes that water-like leaders should aim to maintain balance and foster a sense of unity within a team. 

Understanding this concept may seem abstract, but one of the best ways to comprehend it is through a traditional Chinese art form — calligraphy. 

Chinese calligraphy is an ancient art form that has been practised for thousands of years. It is not only an artistic expression but also a philosophy and social science that cannot be found in the same form in Western culture. This art form holds many lessons on proper conduct and finding contentment in life. 

Using the four tools of brush, ink stick, rice paper, and inkstone, calligraphers can create works of art with varied strokes; thick or thin, straight or curly, smooth or rough. The motion used to make these strokes can be slow or quick while the ink may be dark or light and wet or dry, depending on the desired outcome and a fine balance of ink and water ratio. The absorption rate of the paper also affects the finished work, as elements like structure and balance have to be considered carefully to produce a meaningful piece. Calligraphers have discretion over not just the structure of individual characters but also the overall balance in their artwork. With patience, flexibility and openness, one can learn to recognize when to press the brush harder for a strong stroke, when to lift it for a light touch; when to sweep it for a ‘flying white’ effect and when to run a slow movement for an accentuated look. Different times of day and different moods may bring forth different works of art, even though the characters may remain the same. 

Similarly, learning how to understand and navigate the highs and lows of any team dynamic requires patience, flexibility, and openness. Taking action when needed, but also knowing when to let things unfold naturally so that every individual may reach their full potential. It is all about finding the balance between a strong and a gentle hand.

Water-like leadership philosophies, such as those demonstrated through Chinese calligraphy, are an important part of any successful team’s culture. Leaders should strive to be like water — flexible, open, patient, modest, soft yet persistent- to ensure that every team member feels supported and encouraged in their achievements.

 The power of water-like leadership lies not only in its ability to nurture people and bring out their best, but also in its ability to create unity amongst a team. By fostering an environment of balance and understanding, teams can reach greater heights than ever before. 

 By utilizing the principles of this ancient proverb and applying it to leadership practices, we can create a fulfilling work environment where everyone is able to reach their fullest potential.

For anyone looking to explore the power of water-like leadership further, why not take a Chinese calligraphy class and experience the beauty of this ancient art for yourself? By learning how to create your own pieces of artwork with patience, flexibility and openness, you will be able to understand the power of leading with kindness and empathy. Sign up for a Chinese calligraphy course today and unlock the potential of water-like leadership in your team.

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