I have been reading about Bushido (the way of the warrior) for some time. I do not profess to understand it fully, but it has some principles to act and live life by and to bring to the role of leadership.

It does not mean it isn’t a challenge given the environments we live and work in or the challenges we face to be pragmatic or take the line of least resistance at times rather than using a code of ethics or behaviour to be our guiderails for life and work.

Let’s be honest. None of us are perfect. The question to ask is whether it is helpful for me, my family, my organisation, my society to have a set of principles to behave by and when we fall short that we are honest enough to recognise that, learn and try again.

For what it is worth, here is my attempt at trying to bring forward a code that began in Japan in the 1100s. A code called Bushido or “the Way of the Warrior”.

Like all development, Bushido came from an era where the Samurai were a lethal fighting force. It was only over time that they decided to create a higher order set of principles to live life by and this spread to the wider society itself. I suppose this has occurred in other cultures and at other moments in time e.g. the Knights of the Roundtable. I am sure that these periods occurred in other cultures as well (Greek? Aztecs? Celts?).

My interpretation of the Bushido code is as follows:

  1. Integrity/Justice – being able to make decisions based on right reasons. Doing what is right for the patient, the team, family. There is a sense of duty and obligation that comes with being the leader in the context of the client, team or family
  2. Courage – having the courage to do the right thing and not just what people think you should do (Click to Tweet). To do something because you know you must because it is simply the right thing to do. It calls forth a bravery of spirit
  3. Compassion/Mercy – ensure you “fight” for the right reasons. If there is no need to do so that you show understanding, acceptance and “mercy”
  4. Respect – in everything you believe in show respect and politeness to elders, life and others beliefs
  5. Honesty Being honest gives you respect and means you can be trusted (Click to Tweet). Be honest with yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses. Be true by the alignment of your words and actions
  6. Honour – is a clear consciousness of personal dignity and word. What is truly honorable lies within ourselves and it is for us to know that. To act out of dishonour is like a scar on a tree which over time gets bigger
  7. Loyalty – being loyal to the team and family will increase trust and people wanting to be part of your team