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The Yang of Leadership in Action - 誠 makoto

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Spirit/e—The Tao of Personal Leadership

2007. 5. 23.



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,

Transcending ego

With greater harmony.


(Tao, 77)





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.


(Tao, 51)



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.


(Tao, 34)



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.



Practicing Detachment



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.


(Tao, 59)



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.



Transcending Suki:

The Threefold Way of Detachment



Know fame and glory,

Yet remain humble as a valley,

With potential

Vast and undiminished

Like an uncarved block of wood.


When the wood is carved,

It is used by others.

Wise leaders

Are mindful of wholeness,

Not letting themselves

Be carved into pieces.


(Tao, 28)



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.


(Tao, 68)



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.



Maintaining Perspective



"Our life is frittered away by detail...

Simplify, simplify."



Cultivating Vision and Precision:

Yin and Yang



Cultivating Vision



Empty your mind of clutter,

Maintain an inner peace.


Ten thousand things move around you.

In detachment, perceive the cycles.


(Tao, 16)



Tao Time



Remember the importance of yohaku

in cultivating long-rage vision.

give yourself some

"Tao Time"

every week.

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



Tao leaders

Respect themselves

Without needing approval,

Know themselves

Without self-consciousness.


(Tao, 72)



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.



Being Mindful



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

Their answers.


(Tao, 38)



Truthful words do not flatter.

Flattering words are not true.


(Tao, 81)



Affirming Integrity



Tao leaders live close to nature.

Their actions flow from the heart.

In words they are true;

In decisions, just.


(Tao, 8)



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.


(Tao, 41)



Telling the Truth



Small acts of honesty are the spiritual equivalent of isometrics.



Practicing Openness



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?


(Tao, 44)



Some win by losing

Others lose by winning.


(Tao, 42)



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.


(Tao, 53)



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?


(Tao, 10)



Live with humility

Remaining ahead of their people

By walking behind


(Tao, 66)



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,

Never cluttered.

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.