Life goes on... like an echo in the forest...

The Yang of Leadership in Action - 合 氣 道 aikido

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Spirit/e—The Tao of Personal Leadership

2007. 4. 29.



The Yang of Leadership in Action







literally, "the masculine principle"





10. Conflict Resolution



合 氣 道





literally, "the way of harmony,"

 combining ai ("harmony" or "love") with ki ("spirit") and do ("the way"):

resolving conflict without harming the opponent,

transforming opposing energies into new patterns of harmony.




Those who responsibly meet

Life's conflicts

Can truly lead the world.


(Tao, 78)




The Tao Te Ching teaches that


Harsh words and weapons

Bring violence and pain.

The wise leader chooses combat

Only as a last resort.


For in combat even victory

Is no cause for joy.

To gloat in victory

Means delight in destroying others.

In destroying others,

We destroy ourselves.


(Tao, 31)



The Tao reminds us that

we are all part of something larger than ouselves,

that everything and everyone is intrinsically related.



Working with the natural patterns,

the Tao leader upholds a new way of resolving conflict,

affirming a spirit of partnership

and building a foundation of greater understanding.



The Tao tells us to transcend dualism, to


Stop arguing and end your worries.

What difference is there

Between agreement and disagreement?

Between correct and incorrect?

Accepting another's opinion

Obscures the dawn

Of your own awakening.


(Tao, 20)



Transcending Dualism



The wisdom of Tao reminds us that

all creation is comprised of complementary opposites: yin and yang.



The Tao tells us that using force never really sloves problems;

it only temporarily defeats the opposition:



Meeting conflict with force

Overcomes opposition,

But never the conflict.


Blame and attack,

Rage and resentment

Perpetuate cycles

Of violence and pain.


The wise leader

Seeks real solutions,

Resolving conflict

With the wisdom of Tao.


(Tao, 79)



The Tao gives us a vision that transcends dualism.

We learn that



The Tao leader

Looks beyond friend and foe,

Profit and loss,

Fame and disgrace

And therefore prevails.


(Tao, 56)



Avoiding Aiuchi



Tao leaders keep two important principles of Tao in mind:

oneness and dynamic growth.

Building partnership, concentrating on shared concerns,

Tao leaders emphasize common ground as a foundaiton for conflict resolution.

Realizing that life evolves in dynamic cycles,

they approach a conflict as an opportunity to learn and grow,

a strengthen a relationship,

and to develop greater understanding.



Knowledge Is Power:

Overcoming Fight or Flight



Knowledge of our body's stress response and some key conflict-resolution skills

can make a major differnece in our lives.



Redirecting Energy



Lead with the Tao

And negativity has no power.

The energy is not repressed

But redirected

So that it does no harm.


(Tao, 60)



Centering Down



"You need to be centered within yourself to respond appropriately."

The greater our self-esteem, the more centered we feel.


the more we practice centering, the stronger our sense of self.



Psychological Aikido



the Tao leader honors all energies

So no harm is done

And essential character is affirmed.


(Tao, 60)



One Man's Path to Conflict Resolution



"The Tao leader honors all energies"

and responds to them wisely.


To move forward,

we must involve both groups in a dynamic partnership.



Seeking the one: Redefining Conflict



The Tao Te Ching tells us:


When the parts are separated,

There can be no harmony.

Do not think yourself precious jade,

But wind chimes made of stone.


(Tao, 39)



Looking at the Relationship,

Not just the conflict



We need to open up our perspective,

to see the current conflict

as our one part of a much larger relationship.



From Power Over to "Power-With"



The Tao tells us:


An open mind brings compassion.

Compassion builds power.

Such power is natural

And nature is one with Tao.


(Tao, 16)



Becoming Conflict Partners: The Process



The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution,

combines the yin of patience and receptivity with the yang of positive action.



The principles are...



Developing a Partnership Atmosphere



The Importance of Timing

Choosing the Right Place

Opening Comments



Identifying Shared Needs,



The Tao Te Ching tells us:


Those who know the needs of the people

Are fit to govern them.

Those who responsible meet

Life's conflicts

Can truly lead the world.


(Tao, 78)



Personal Needs: Developing Positive Self-power



Separate your preferences from your needs.

Know when you can bend and when you need to stand your ground

or risk losing your self-respect.



Your Partner's Needs



You don't need to agree with your partner.

Just open your heart and listen.

Solutions will come later.


the greatest gift we can give another person

is our understanding.



Identifying the Relationship Needs



Nothing in the universe exists alone;

everything is connected.



Busy people need to make sure that

their decisions are made by deliberaton, not by default.

Our needs are too important to leave to chance.



Identifying Shared Needs



Recognizing their shared needs,

the people began to see each other differently.



Finding Stepping Stones



There are no instant solutions:


A journey of a thousand miles

Begins with a single step.


(To, 64)



A process of Discovery



If your plan is inflexible,

It cannot succeed.

Unable to bend,

The tree will break.

Hardness and stiffiness

Lead to destruction.

Flow with the process

And live to prevail.


(Tao, 76)



Openness to process is key.



Flowing with the Process:

Leaders and Conflict Resolution



As the Tao reminds us,

we can build greater harmony around us by seeking greater harmony within us,

by overcoming our anxiety, defensiveness, and hostility in the face of conflict.


Coupling the yin attributes of patience, prcess, and empathy

with the yang attributes of courage and positive action,

the Tao leader reconciles opposites within himself of herself

to develop the positive power of Tao.



We learn to


Know the sunlight

While confronting the shadows,

Becoming a leader to all.

As a Tao leader,

You move with infinite power,

Ever drawing upon the source.


(Tao, 28)



As Tao leaders,

we resolve conflict in a spirit of partnership,

working with essential energies to create new patterns of harmony

for ourselves and our world.












 Dreher, Diane. The Tao of Personal Leadership. Harper Collins Publishers. New York. 1997.