The Yang of Leadership in Action
literally, "the masculine principle"
11. Transcending Ego
literally, "sincerity," "truth," "integrity"
The Tao leader transcends ego and self-centeredness.
Coming from a deeper center of integrity
enables us to inspire trust and promote harmony.
The Tao leader acts without attachement,
Achieves, but does not take credit,
With greater harmony.
Beyond Self-indulgence and Self-abnegation
Transcending ego does not mean self-abnegation.
He realized that
while practicing the two extremes of self-denial and self-indulgence,
he remained self-centered.
Transending Ego, Affirming Character
All actions flow from the Tao
Character (Te) shapes them,
Circumstances complete them.
A Taoist definition of character takes us
beyound the need for approval and applause.
We are told:
The Tao leader
Does not try to appear great
And thereby achieves
True strength of character.
Leadership Is More Than Being Well Liked
When we take an unpopular stand,
people are bound to criticize us.
We will not always be well liked.
Tao leaders work to trascend own hurt and defensiveness,
so they can listen to criticism and learn from it.
How Do You Perceive the People Around You?
The master was condemned to be a river and never to rest
because in life he'd been driven by the currents of envy and ambition.
In leading others and serving the universe,
The greatest lesson is detachment.
Detachment means transcending ego.
This comes from years of building character.
With strength of character
Nothing is impossible.
Mushin—the Power Beyond Ego
It is mushin,
the art beyond art,
when we transcend self-consciousness
to become one with what we do.
This is mind of Tao,
which makes leadership a joyous dance and life a work of art.
The Threefold Way of Detachment
Know fame and glory,
Yet remain humble as a valley,
Vast and undiminished
Like an uncarved block of wood.
When the wood is carved,
It is used by others.
Are mindful of wholeness,
Not letting themselves
Be carved into pieces.
Avoiding Role Identification
Role-identified people can become
hostile and defensive,
afraid of change
because it threatens their security.
Sociologist Kich Iwamoto says that
"When a leader stays in one position too long,
it becomes almost personal property."
Tao Insight: I Am an Evolving Soul
As we continue to learn,
we increase our knowledge base,
our competence, and our joy in life.
John F. Kennedy realized that
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."
Detaching from Emotional Reactions
The best leader does not use force.
The best warrior does not act in anger.
The best officer does not fight petty battles.
The best managers seek to understand thier people.
This is the practice of detachment
Which brings the power to lead others
And is the highest lesson under heaven.
Detachment from Outcome
Once you have disidentified,
then remind yourself of what you are.
"I'm a child of the universe."
"I am an evolving soul."
"I am a conscious spark in the galaxy of universal light."
Make up your own expansive definition of all that you are.
Leaders Produce Result, Not Excuses
The focus and flexibility of Tao leadership
always produces results,
results we can leve with.
"Our life is frittered away by detail...
Cultivating Vision and Precision:
Yin and Yang
Empty your mind of clutter,
Maintain an inner peace.
Ten thousand things move around you.
In detachment, perceive the cycles.
Remember the importance of yohaku
in cultivating long-rage vision.
give yourself some
Take a walk.
Get away from your desk.
See an old friend.
Shake the cobwebs out of your mind
and let the insights come.
Knowing Yourself: Perceiving Your Patterns
Without needing approval,
Strengths and Weaknesses: Yin and Yang
Self-knowledge can help us affirm our greatest strength.
Being mindful of the downside
can keep us from falling into our greatest weakness.
Cultivating Creater Precision in Your Life
Along with vision,
wise leaders cultivate precision,
focusing on the important details of their lives.
You'll find lessons everywhere,
as Shakespeare put it,
"Tongues in trees,
books in running brooks,
sermons in stones
and good in every thing."
Being Mindful At Work: Avoiding Isolation
Losing touch with our hearts,
We fall into confusion
And fools try to sell us
Truthful words do not flatter.
Flattering words are not true.
Tao leaders live close to nature.
Their actions flow from the heart.
In words they are true;
In decisions, just.
Developing Integrity: Four Stepping Stones
-to live your values consistently
-to maintain a spiritual practice
-to tell the truth
-to practice openness.
Consistently Living Your Values
"Never compromise principle,
not even on special occasion."
-Dr. Marcia Pearce,
pastor of the Valley West Church in Campbell, California
Tao leaders realize that
they can never fool themselves—or the universe.
Maintaining a Spiritual Practice
The greatest virtue seems unreal,
And strength of character appears like folly.
Telling the Truth
Small acts of honesty are the spiritual equivalent of isometrics.
Openness cuts down considerably on stress.
Surviving Adversity and Success
Which is greater,
Fame or peace of mind?
Which is more valuabe,
Peace of mind or wealth?
Which brings more problems,
Gain or loss?
Some win by losing
Others lose by winning.
Foolish leaders indulge themselves,
Leaving their fields untilled
And their storehouses empty.
They wear impressive clothes,
Brandish sharp words and weapons,
Are addicted to food, drink, and possessions.
This is the road of excess,
Not the way of Tao.
Keys to Surviving Challenge and Adversity
When they've proved themselves and resistance clears,
they move ahead with a quantum leap in the direction of their dreams.
Dealing with Immature People
Sometimes these people will betray and disappoint you,
offering you another powerful lesson on the path.
Emotional Immaturity and Corporate Politics
The Tao encourages us to transcend
self-centered politics and affirm a larger, inclusive vision.
Staying Centered: Overcoming Fight or Flight
Following the larger visiotn of Tao,
progressive leaders affirm the power of honest, integrity, and truth,
the force that Gandhi realized can overcome all error and pretense.
A Lesson from Aikido
The nonviolent martial art of aikido gives us
a helpful process for dealing with immature people:
-Get off the line: Don't be sucked in by this person's negative energy.
-Blend: Feel compassion for this confused individual.
-Extend: Reach out with positive energy.
The Tao Te Ching reminds us that
energy is all there is.
If we stay centered and look to the larger vision,
we can redirect any energy,any challenge,
into patterns of greater harmony.
Transcending Roles and the
Compulsion to Control
Can you lead your people
Without seeking to control?
Live with humility
Remaining ahead of their people
By walking behind
Tao Leaders in Our Midst
Pattern your life after the giant bamboo.
The exterior, though smooth and lovely to the touch,
Is tough and resistant to the sword.
Within it is soft and pliabe,
With much space for continued growth.
It grows neatly and ordered,
Alone, it rises tall and straight,
Always upward to the sky.
There is spreads its beauty to the sun.
It learns on nothing.
It makes its own way,
Perhaps near others, a part of others,
But very much dependent
On its own stength and force.
So pattern your life.
Leading with the Tao is above all else a matter of character.
It is transcending ego,
looking beyound ourselves to find lessions all arund us.
It means living our lives to make a difference,
inspired by the strength and resiliency of nature,
the ineffabel power of Tao.
Dreher, Diane. The Tao of Personal Leadership. Harper Collins Publishers. New York. 1997.