Principles for Leadership

Etre harcelee par la presse is a French expression that means “to be hounded by the press.” That’s what has been happening with me the past several weeks. The news media won’t leave me alone. They all want to know who I am endorsing in the 2016 Presidential election. To get them off my back, I have decided to reveal the candidate I will support:

No one.

I don’t think I have been so underwhelmed by a crowd of contenders before.

I would love to see a woman president, but to be honest, I have had enough of the Clintons to last a couple of lifetimes. And if you think Obama was one of modern history’s most polarizing presidents, just wait until Hilary wins . . . man, oh, man.

I agree with most of what Bernie Sanders has to say, but I can’t help but feel that anyone who identifies himself as a socialist has little hope of winning a general election in 2016. Besides, Bernie comes off as kind of grouchy and we have enough of that with the GOP (Grouchy Obstructionist Party).

Speaking of which, with the bag of mixed nuts the GOP is serving up this year, the grip on reality has never been looser.

In Chapter 66 of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, “If a sound person wishes to become the leader of the people, that person first displays humility before them.”

Lao Tzu’s work contains many other timeless principles for leadership. There are countless seminars and courses, and a multitude of books devoted to distilling lessons from the Tao Te Ching on this subject, as well as daily life. Fortune 500 corporations, including IBM, Mitsubishi, and Prudential, have long used the book as a management/leadership training text.  Our politicians should take a look at it.

I don’t recall where I ran across this but it’s a nice compilation Lao Tzu’s essential leadership teachings:

Lao Tzu’s Principles for Leadership

lao-tzu-2016bThe best leaders are those whose presence is barely known by others.

Leaders value their words highly and use them sparingly.

Because a leader has faith in others, then others have faith in his or her leadership.

When a leader’s work is done, others will say: we did it ourselves.

Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.

To lead people, walk beside them.

Love people and lead without cunning or manipulation.

The ancient leaders who followed the Tao did not give people elaborate strategies, but held to a simple practice. It is hard to lead while trying to be clever. Too much cleverness undermines the people’s harmony. Those who lead without such strategies bring benefit to all.

By being lower, rivers and seas are able to receive the homage and tribute of all the valley streams, thus they rule over them all.  Therefore, it is a wise leader, wishing to be above the people, who by his words puts himself below them, and, wishing to be before them, follows them.

Leaders go first by putting themselves last. It is from their selflessness that they are able to fulfill themselves.

It is good to empower people, so that no one is wasted.

The best leaders are effective because they do not try to seize power. They are effective because they are not conceited, proud or arrogant.

The wise keep their word and do not pressure others.


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