For more than two thousand years, political and business leaders have drawn inspiration from the ancient Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching. It has endured because its principles about the patterns of living systems–the flow of energy that occurs in the natural world as well as in families, relationships, businesses, and nations–are as true today as they were centuries ago. The Tao acknowledges that the world is constantly changing, and a Tao leader must how to blend these changes into new patterns of harmony.
A Tao leader is someone who can assess a situation, bring people together, build consensus, and discover solutions that draw upon the talents of everyone involved. A Tao leader is a facilitator, communicator, and team builder who realizes that our greatest resources are our minds and hearts, together with those of the people around us.
Tao leaders don’t shrink from the unknown, they embrace it. Living on the edge, leading from the edge, they respond to uncertainty by seeking their balance in dynamic interaction with the challenges of life.
Taoism, the 2,000-year-old Chinese philosophy, has millions of adherents and has influenced artists and writers not just in the East but also in the West. Its principles have been ‘applied’ to enterprises as diverse as baseball and investing. Those who see natural patterns in life or in a specific activity are drawn to it. Though many are superficial dabblers, others, such as Dreher, live their lives in the ‘way of the Tao,’ seeking harmony with nature and accepting simplicity and spontaneity. Dreher has degrees in English, holistic health, and spiritual counseling, and she teaches classes and conducts workshops on Taoist principles. Here she suggests that those principles and various aspects of Taoism (centering, harmony, joy, renewal, community, vision, etc.) are particularly suited to effective leadership, making the difference between leaders and managers.
According to Taoism the formula for success is:
Success is the sum of preparation and opportunity.
Tao is really Nature’s way: the order, course of pattern of all things created. The Tao never acts with force, yet there is nothing that it can not do. Yin and Yang are symbols of the Tao. They are the dynamic force of the Tao, constantly interacting with one another.
Yin and Yang are the two polar energies that, by their fluctuation and interaction, are the cause of the universe. The notion means that the reality consists of relationships between opposite and opposite principles. Yin and yang are polar manifestations of the Tao of the supreme ultimate. The One is divided through the creative powers of the Tao into two opposite energetics and dualities, which then give birth to “the ten thousand things”.
Being In Accord With Reality
The Tao helps you achieve much more with much less effort. This effortless skill comes from being in accord with reality. You can’t tell the singer from the song. You can’t tell the dancer from the dance. When you are in harmony with the Tao, when you go with its current of energy, your innate intelligence takes over, and the right action happens by itself. If you think about it, you lose it. This is the purest and most effective form of action that Tao Te Ching calls “not-doing” or “non-action”.
The Tao teaches you the art of living and doing business. It gives you advice that imparts perspective and balance. It applies equally well to the management of large corporations or the running of a small business, to the governing of a nation or the leading a small team, to your personal development or to the coaching of others.
The Leader is best,
When people are hardly aware of his existence,
Not so good when people praise his government,
Less good when people stand in fear,
Worst, when people are contemptuous.
Fail to honor people, and they will fail to honor you.
But of a good leader, who speaks little
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
The people say, ‘We did it ourselves.‘
The Tao of Change consists of many sets of guiding principles that help you understand the universal laws. The person who fights the universe always loses because the will of the universe cannot be changed. Nothing stands still. For everything there is a proper time. Nothing lasts forever. All that exists must change. Everything, including success and decline, follows a specific pattern of succession and occupies a specific period in time. The pattern of change is repetitious.
The Tao of Change helps you understand this pattern and, thus, find true contentment. Fighting decline or any other changes will result in misery, Do not strive to hasten good fortune prematurely and accept inevitable decline if you wish to achieve true contentment. Tread the middle path of balanced progress to avoid all conflicts by aligning yourself with steady rhythms of the universe and finally become one with Tao.