The 7 Principles of BUSHIDO for Managers

I strongly believe in these 7 Principles of BUSHIDO for Managers.

I’ve always been convinced that, in work as in life, one needs to believe in what they do with vigor.


Believing in what we do, in how we behave ourselves (in private and at work), in how we treat others (friends, colleagues, service providers), in how we define our goals and how we plan and achieve them.

Focusing on some distinctive principles of our way of being, of our character, that are reflected in our professional life and define, without question, the perception that others have of us as professionals.

This might seem like an obvious concept, and perhaps it is, but in the behavior that I observe every day in a great number of managers, professionals, employees and even in university students, it doesn’t seem at all like a “shared” concept.

Sure, it doesn’t do any good to generalize, and I don’t want to. Mine is a “sentiment” that I want to share so that the problem may be discussed and rewritten and I am certain that every one of us has experienced, in person or indirectly, a situation of unprofessionalism in work relationships.

Managers that struggle to make definitive decisions, bosses that hide behind the “budget” to neglect agreements made months earlier, professionals that behave as if there were no rules or as if they were above the rules.

Everything is distorted, by now, since LinkedIn was invented, where every one of us tries to give off an image of ourselves that is as professional as possible, as if every one of us is convinced that we’re a person that can be trusted, someone to believe in, someone with whom it’s worth it to launch a business, a person “of honor,” as it was said once, honor, that archaic word.

Believing in what we do determines the quality of what we do

I said it in another article, I am a romantic businessman, for me honor is not an obsolete concept, something to grab ahold of “at our convenience”; a utopia.

To dust off the concept of honor again, every time that I can, I find refuge in some principles that do my heart, my soul, and my business well, the ancient principles of Bushido.

The fact they do me good doesn’t mean that this works for everyone, but it’s interesting to understand how universal they might be and how they might be shared in business or in one’s private life.

But, who knows, maybe the application of these principles would help a great number of managers, other than myself.

Bushido, or the way of the warrior (武士道, in Japanese) is a code of conduct and a way of life that is reminiscent of the European concept of a knight, adopted by Japanese warriors.

Inspired by Buddhist and Confucian principles, readapted to the warrior class, Bushido required respect of the values of honesty, loyalty, justice, piety, duty, and honor to be pursued until death. Failing in these principles caused dishonor to the warrior, who atoned through ritual suicide, seppuku (切腹) or hara-kiri (腹切り).

Here are the seven principles, taken from here:

Everything makes much more sense if we use “Manager” in place of “Samurai”:

Advice 01
義, Gi: Rectitude

#1 Principle of Bushido.

Be scrupulously honest in your relationships with others, believe in justice that comes not from other people but from you yourself.

The true Samurai holds no uncertainty on the question of honesty and justice. There is only that which is right and that which is wrong.

Advice 02
勇, Yu: Heroic Courage

#2 Principle of Bushido.

Elevate yourself above the masses that are scared to act, hiding like a turtle in its shell is not living.

A Samurai must possess a heroic courage, that is absolutely risky and dangerous, which means living a complete, full, marvelous life.

Heroic courage is not blind but intelligent and strong.

Advice 03
仁, Jin: Benevolence

#3 Principle of Bushido.

Intense training makes the Samurai strong and fast.

He is different from the others, he holds a power that has to be used for the common good.

He possesses compassion, he takes every opportunity to be of help to his neighbors and if the opportunity doesn’t present itself he does everything he can to find one.


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Advice 04
礼, Rei: Kind Courtesy

#4 Principle of Bushido.

Samurais have no reason to behave themselves in a cruel manner, they don’t need to show off their own strength.

A samurai is kind even with his enemies.

Without such demonstration of exterior respect, a man is little more than an animal.

The Samurai is respected not only for his strength in battle but also for how he interacts with other humans.

Advice 05
誠, Makoto or 信, Shin: Complete Honesty

#5 Principle of Bushido.

When a Samurai expresses the intention to complete an action, then it is practically already completed, nothing will keep him from bringing the expressed intention to its conclusion.

He needs neither to “give his word” nor to promise. Speaking and acting are the same thing.

Advice 06
名誉, Meiyo: Honor

#6 Principle of Bushido.

There is only one judge of honor for the Samurai: himself.

The decisions you make and the actions that follow them are a reflection on that which you are in reality.

You cannot hide from yourself.

Advice 07
忠義, Chugi: Duty and Loyalty

#7 Principle of Bushido.

For the Samurai, completing an action or expressing something is equivalent to becoming the owner.

He assumes full responsibility for them, even for the consequences of them.

The Samurai is immensely loyal to those he takes care of. He remains fiercely loyal to those he is responsible for.

Which is your favorite? Mine Is Meiyo. We will talk about them again.

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