The Yang of Leadership in Action
literally, "the masculine principle"
den and tatsu
den, literally, "to report," "to impart," and "to transmit";
with tatsu, literally, "to arrive," "to reach," and "to attain," respectively.
To communicate clearly is to arrive at a deeper understanding.
The highest people teach the lowest
And learn from them as well.
Those without appreciation
For the teacher or the lesson
Have strayed from the path.
They may be highly educated,
But lack the deepest wisdom.
The Tao Te Ching encourages us to watch and listen for life's patterns,
not only in nature but in the world of human interactions.
The Tao challenges us to balance individualism with community,
developing our own abilities to the fullest while looking to the larger patterns.
Selecting the Right Mode of Communication
Face-to-face Communication: Active Listening
The Tao tells us:
The spirit of the valley is eternal.
It is yin, mother of all life.
Its portal is the source of all creation,
Subtle and yielding
Yet infinite, strong.
Blend with its power
And succeed without effort.
The ability to listen carefully,
to yield our attention to another,
enables us to seek the truth in any interaction.
Developing Insight: T'zu Jan
The Chinese character t'zu jan means
a spontaneous insight into the nature of things.
It cannot be acquired by intellect alone or even hard work.
It must be found by opening our hearts.
The character t'zu means compassion or empathy,
one of the three treasures of the Tao and a vital aspect of listening.
As we open our hearts and carefully listen to the other person,
we transcend our limited egos,
which keep us from recognizing hte subtle energies between us.
Awareness is power.
Communicating with Clarity and Integrity
Listening is the yin and speaking is the yang of effective communication.
We must do both to get our message across.
Communicating with Integrity
Those who admit that they don't know
Those who conceal their ignorance
Those who admit mistakes
Develop strength of character.
Those who pretend to be strong
Keeping Lines of Communication Open
The form of the formless,
The image without image,
Beyond all definition.
Meeting it, there is no beginning.
Following it, there is no end.
Communicating for Quality: Leadership Teams
Hold to this timeless pattern
Throughout the time of your life,
Aware of the eternal cycles,
The essence of Tao.
Those who do not trust others
Will never be trusted.
Nature's way is alteration.
Some things move forward
While others fall back.
Now we reach out
And then we reach in.
Today we're weak,
Therefore, the Tao leader
Communicating Bad News
Be clear. Tell the truth.
Be concise, Don't ramble or make excuses.
Be Compassionate. Cite some alternatives.
Honest, as an uncarved block of wood;
Open, as a yielding valley;
Blending, as if earth and water.
Communicating Good News
Success can grow from failure,
Misery from happiness.
Who knows what lies
Beneath the surface?
Complaint and conflict
Can turn to good,
Morale can shift
From high to low.
People have long been confused
The Tao leader is
Just, but not judgemental;
Honest, but not hurtful;
Straightforward, but not inflexible;
Bright, but not flamboyant.
With a belief in new possibilities and effective communication skills,
we shape our collective future.
This is the way of Tao.
Dreher, Diane. The Tao of Personal Leadership. Harper Collins Publishers. New York. 1997.