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The Yang of Leadership in Action - 和 wa

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Spirit/e—The Tao of Personal Leadership

2007. 5. 27.



The Yang of Leadership in Action







literally, "the masculine principle"




12. Creating Harmony







literally, "harmony," "peace"

 Tao leaders create greater harmony around them

because they follow the path of greater harmony within.



My words are easy to know,

Easy to practice.

Yet few under heaven

Know or practice them.


My words reveal

Eternal principles,

Enduring patterns.

Pathways to harmony.


(Tao, 70)




The Tao leader is a pioneer, a pathfinder,

who continually faces the unknown, exploring new territories,

dealing with unforeseen challenges.



The Tao also affirms the power of our intuition,

the inner light that dispels the shadows of fear and doubt,

revealing to us the hidden possibilities in any situation.



The Tao reminds us to maintain the vital balance of yin and yang,

action and contemplation,

self and other:



Hold to this timeless pattern

Throughout the time of your life,

Aware of the eternal cycles,

The essence of Tao.


(Tao, 14)



Within its timeless pattern,

there is dynamic balance:

a time to act,

a time to pause,

a time to reach in,

a time to reach out.



Tao Leadership in Action: Creating Harmony



Honoring the Cycles



Ten thousand things move around you.

In detachment, perceive the cycles.

Watch each return to the source.

Returning to the source is harmony

With the way of nature.


Knowing the cycles brings wisdom.

Not knowing brings disaster.


(Tao, 16)



A self-contained cycle,

the air in the building repeatedly returns to the source,

circulating through the moss, water, and flowers

to remove impurities;

turining carbon dioxide into oxygen;

and adding negative ions to the atmosphere.


The beauty of this tiny ecosystem—the soft sounds of the water,

the vision of tropical plants and flowers,

the goldfish sparkling in the pond belw

—refreshes their spirits as well.



Complementary Polarities: Yin and Yang



All life springs

From yin and yang

As they blend forever

Into new patterns

Of harmony


(Tao, 42)



The Traditional Chinese principles of goodness:


Set a good goal in mind.

Acquire a good wealth of knowledge.

Exercise good self-discipline.

Perform only good deeds.



Dynamic Growth



The natural world is like a bellows.

The shape changes, but the essence remains,

Ever moving, ever producing.


(Tao, 5)



Tao leaders recognize the waves of change and work with them.






In ages past, people followed the one.

The heavens were bright and clear.

The earth was in balance.

The spirits rejoiced.

The valleys were filled with life.

The ten thousand things flourished.

The leaders were wise.

And their people in harmony.

All this came form oneness.


(Tao, 39)



The Taoist concept of oneness has progressively found its way into

medicine, holistic health,

and the way we view ourselves.



Respect and Community



The Tao leader creates harmony


From the heart

To build community.


(Tao, 49)



The wisdom of Tao takes us beyond linear thinking.

We learn that we belong to a living ecosystem,

that the choices we make each day

have major repercussions in the world aroud us.


Exending this vision form the environmental to the political level,

we see ourselves as part of a vital global community

that begins locally and extends ever outward.



Conflict Resolution



Tao leaders work to turn conflict into opportunities

for greater understanding,

stronger relationships,

and better solutions.


Instead of fleeing from conflict of fighting with the opposition,

people of vision are learning to transform conflict into cooperation.



Compassion triumphs over adversity,

Brings power and protection.

Heaven always arms its leaders

With the strength of compassion.


(Tao, 67)



The Leader's Journey:

Creating Inner Harmony



As a familiar saying affirms,

"As it is within, so it is without."


We reach out to create new patterns of harmoney

by creating harmony within.



Every external action has an internal consequence,

a spiritual equivalent.

We are all on the path.

The word "Tao" itself means path or journey.


The Tao Te Ching tells us that

a life well lived is the greatest gift

we can give to the world—or ourselves:



Noble deeds are a rare gift.


Therfore, on the inauguration of a great leader,

Or the installation of a high official,

Rather than sending gifts of jade

And fine horses,

Make a gift of living the Tao.


(Tao, 62)



Vocation: The First Stage on the Path



Leaving behind the familiar,

the comfortable, the known,

we are impelled to move forward

in the direction of our dreams.



Crossing the Threshold



As we leave the familiar,

we cross the threshold into another world.

We enter a new frontier.


As a popular science fiction series puts it,

we "boldly go where no one has ever gone before."


At one time,

each of them was a new challenge.



A journey of a thousand miles

Begins with a single step.


(Tao, 64)



The path of human progress has been cleared,

one step at a time,

by those who dared to reach out to new possibilities,

to do what they'd never done before.






Creative people—artists, scientists, innovators,

and leaders—have always walked this path.



To be alone on the journey

Is what most people fear,

Yet the Tao leader chooses this state.


(Tao, 42)



Facing the Dragon



The Tao creates

And Te cultivates,

Nurtures and protects,

Promotes, but does not possess,

Empowers, but does not take credit,

Leads without dominating.


This is the power of character.


(Tao, 51)



Facing the Inner Dragon



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)



The Tao calls on us to know ouselves deeply,

to face our fears,

our dark-shadow side,

and come to terms with it.

Once we do so,

its powerful energies cannot be used against us.


When we cast light on a shadow,

the shadow disappears.

Just so,

when we acknowledge our own shadow side,

the inner dragon fades away

and the outer dragon weakens as well,

no longer fueled

by the powerful energies of our unconscious.



Whenever we face the dragon,

we, too, return from this confrontation with a treasure,

a valuable insight about ourselves,

a deeper awareness and the strengths

we'll need to handle the new responsibilites

in our next stage in life.



Detachment and Blending



Facing the dragon brings us greater detachment.

We don't overreact to challenge and change

because we realize that

our security lies not in externals

but in our ability to stay centered

and blend with the energies around us.



The best runner leaves no tracks.

The best speaker makes no mistakes.

The best mathematician does problems in his head.

The best door needs nothing to secure it.

The best knot does not bind,

Yet cannot be loosened.


(Tao, 27)



The Tao leader prevails

because he or she transcends ego,

recognizing and flowing with the dynamic energies of nature.

This is the secret of Tao.



Randori: Taking Chaos



A Tao leader doesn't surrender to despair

when faced by what seem like overwhelming odds.

He or she stays centered,

watches for the energy patterns,

and deals with challenges one at a time.



We must stay centered,

detached, and flexible,

affirming the strength of bamboo,

the enduring power of water.



The Leader's Journey: Endings and Beginnings



The lessons of Tao are as old as time and as new as tomorrow.



With strength of character

Nothing is impossible.

When your heart expands

To embrace the impossible,

You are able to lead with Tao.


(Tao, 59)



The leader's journey is yours and mine.

With the wisdom to see beyond ourselves,

to flow with the natural patterns,

together we can create a new form of leadership

to heal and transform our world.











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