Not everyone of us are born leaders.
Well, not all of us are born to be rich and privileged as well. Although it would really take hard work to become rich, the good news is: we could all try to be good leaders! All it takes is just the right leadership strategy, that will be leading you to success. I rediscovered the book,” The Tao of Leadership: Leadership Strategies for the New Age,” John Heider’s adaptation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching or How Things Work, over the weekend and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a valuable resource for all of us professionals and I feel so at odds with myself for totally missing it all these years!
There are 81 nuggets of wisdom in total that could guide us in becoming the kind of leader that we want to be. As a leader, I would like to say that I conform to the following leadership strategies:
The wise leader is like water “Consider water: water cleanses and refreshes all creatures without distinction and without judgment; water freely and fearlessly goes deep beneath the surface of things; water is fluid and responsive; water follows the law freely.” It’s true that sometimes all you have to do is look at the things around you and you’d be surprised at the valuable lessons that you can learn from it. Take the case of water. It’s not rigid; it’s free-flowing. As a leader in my company, I believe that I am a simple and calm person. Just like water, I am fluid, flexible, and responsive. I don’t believe that you should push people into doing things for you but rather you should just be an instrument in making things happen.
Allow things to be revealed freely while giving your workers the opportunity to explore and express themselves. You only step in as a guide, probably make sure everything is on the right track, yet never imposing.
Your ultimate goal is harmony. A harmonious working relationship is a perfect relationship. Don’t stir things up “Run the group delicately, as if you were cooking small fish.” When was the last time you cooked fish, especially a small one?
Due to its delicate nature, you try to hold it as gently as you can, carefully handling it so it will not break as you bring it to the pan, and you make sure you cook it just right. When you are starting a company, your leadership strategy should be that of a good chef. You orchestrate everything – ingredients, tools and equipment, manner of cooking, the right time, and yes, even the right heat.
Allow everything to process naturally. Sauté. Let simmer. Allow all flavors to mix and blend well. And wait. In the right time, you have cooked up just the perfect dish! Low and open “Why is the ocean the greatest body of water? Because it lies below all rivers and streams and is open to them all.” A tried and tested leadership strategy likewise espoused by Lao Tzu is that a good leader should be a good follower. Much like a good cook, you facilitate the making of the dish but you know that the ultimate star would be the dish itself.
Just like the ocean, a wise leader provides the bed to make its workers do its work even at the risk of getting unnoticed for facilitating it all. But reward and acknowledgment should not be the priority of a good leader; it’s the success in knowing that a job well done was finally achieved.