Tag Archives: leadership

“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 17” by Lao Tzu

TaoTehChing

The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence
the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.

The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words.
When his task is accomplished and things have been
completed,
All the people say, “We ourselves have achieved it!”

This is profound advice for leaders. You hear echoes of this wisdom in almost every seminar on leadership: provide autonomy for those under you; those who lead best are those who lead least; great leaders inspire others. The list goes on and on. But essentially, it is all the same—an effective leader is one who enables others to succeed. Tyranny and control only breeds resentment and revolt.

I really don’t feel there is any need to elaborate more on this passage. It is pretty clear. I only hope our next leader embraces these values.

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“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 10” by Lao Tzu

TaoTehChing

In keeping the spirit and the vital soul together,
Are you able to maintain their perfect harmony?
In gathering your vital energy to attain suppleness,
Have you reached the state of a new-born babe?
In washing and clearing your inner vision,
Have you purified it of all dross?
In loving your people and governing your state,
Are you able to dispense with cleverness?
In the opening and shutting of heaven’s gate,
Are you able to play the feminine part?
Enlightened and seeing far into all directions,
Can you at the same time remain detached and non-active?

Rear your people!
Feed your people!
Rear them without claiming them for your own!
Do your work without setting any store by it!
Be a leader, not a butcher!
This is called hidden Virtue.

In this passage, Lao Tzu provides guidance to leaders on how to best govern. But since this advice is based upon spiritual principles, it applies to all of us in our daily affairs.

Many of us have a tendency to rest upon our laurels. We work hard to reach spiritual harmony, and when we reach it, we run the risk of thinking we are done. We begin to neglect that which we worked to attain, just as the leaders who attain power often begin to neglect their people. When Lau Tzu advises rulers to rear and feed their people, he is also advising the sage to nurture the spiritual enlightenment that the sage has found.

There is something else that I think Lau Tzu was warning against, and that is self-righteousness. Consider the last lines of the first verse:

Enlightened and seeing far into all directions,
Can you at the same time remain detached and non-active?

Throughout my life, I have met many spiritual seekers who, once they reach a spiritual goal, assume a holier-than-thou attitude. They allow the self to revel in the spiritual advances that they made, and as a result, begin to lose what they gained. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and I confess that it happened to me at one point also. The key then is humility, allowing yourself to remain detached enough to remain centered on the path and continue growing spiritually. And stay vigilant, watching for when feelings of superiority or self-importance seep in and become obstacles.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts. I hope you have a truly blessed day.

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Star Wars: Princess Leia – Issue 5

Leia_05

This issue concludes the arc. It was short, but sweet. I love the way Leia is depicted as a strong female leader. As a father of two girls, I appreciate stories with strong women leaders. Girls need role models, and Leia is all that.

What stood out for me in this issue is the ideology of what constitutes Adreaanian strength. Strength is exhibited by how one responds to difficult situations. And as is asserted here, it is not through violence that we demonstrate our strength, but in our abstinence from turning to violence.

We are Alderaan. We answer rage with wisdom. We answer fear with imagination. We answer war with hope. We are, each of us, important.

Thanks for stopping by, and looking forward to the new Star Wars installment hitting theaters in December.

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Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 9

DoctorWho_09

In this issue, the Doctor, Alice, Jones, and the ARC travel to SERVEYOUinc where they discover that the Talent Scout and the ARC were once one: ARC being the mind of the Talent Scout. Things go from bad to worse as the scout takes control of the Doctor. We are left with quite the cliffhanger.

This issue provides some of the strongest criticism against corporations that we seen so far in this series. Early on, the Doctor states:

A corporation is a very special kind of monster.

As they storm the corporate office, the criticism gets even stronger.

Doesn’t matter, whatever’s up there, whatever they’ve done, they’re just… monsters, that’s all. Because they don’t have the imagination not to be monsters. They can’t think of any way than cruel and cowardly.

While the writers are certainly tapping into the anti-corporate sentiment that seems to be growing, my personal feeling is that a corporation is only as ethical as the individuals who are running the corporation. There are ethical corporations out there that are the result of leaders who possess values. Conversely, there are unethical corporations out there that are the result of leaders who do not have a strong moral sense. I do not think it is right to make a blanket statement against all corporations based upon the actions of some. It’s the same as making blanket statements against a group of people based upon the actions of a few individuals who fall into that category.

Frankly, the more I think about this, the more disappointed I am with the writers here. I am getting tired of this mentality where we label entire groups based upon the actions of a few. This is yet another example of that tendency. I will have to consider whether or not to continue reading this series.

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Star Wars: Princess Leia – Issue 1

Leia_01

I’ve had this issue for a while and have only just gotten around to reading it. My expectations were somewhat high, since I have heard only good things about this. Happily, I was not disappointed.

This is the first of a five-issue miniseries focusing on Princess Leia. The tale begins where the original Star Wars film left off, at the ceremony where Leia presented Like, Han, and Chewbacca with awards. The members of the rebel alliance are critical of Leia. They view her as cold and heartless because she does not display the “appropriate” level of emotion over the loss of her parents.

Rebel 1: That’s all she has to say? Man, what’s with the Ice Princess?

Rebel 2: You know royals. They don’t show emotions to the plebes.

As I read this, I could not help thinking about Cordelia in King Lear, or about Mersault in Camus’ The Stranger. It is like people expect a show of emotion.

Leia decides to disregard General Dodonna’s instructions to remain under protection and instead sets out with another woman pilot to search for surviving Alderaanians. By doing so, she establishes herself as a strong, independent leader.

I expect you to object, but hear me out: What is my alternative? To collapse in grief, as everyone seems to wish? To keep my head down and hide? To rule over nothing? I reject that. The last royal of Alderaan must be too strong to cower. Too certain to despair. And more than that, General, she must be too stubborn to quit—if her subjects—and her culture—are to survive. If you will not allow me to aid the rebellion, I can do this.

What I love the most about this is that Leia is portrayed as a strong woman who is a natural leader. As a parent of two daughters, I understand how important it is for girls to have strong women figures to look up to and be inspired by. Princess Leia definitely fits into this category. I am looking forward to the rest of this series.

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Star Trek: Khan – Issue #3

StarTrekKhan_03In this third installment of the series, the story really begins to flesh out. It’s been great so far, but now the story is getting even more interesting.

Khan describes how he ruled on Earth. He was a benevolent ruler and was able to secure the loyalty of his subjects by providing them what they lacked: education, food, healthcare, and so forth. In contrast, the other genetically enhanced leaders fought amongst themselves and abused their subjects, resulting in war and devastation.

Khan asserts that humans actually prefer to be ruled, to feel that they are cared for.

To understand the extent of my power, is to understand a simple, fundamental fact about human beings. They long to be ruled. They long for order, for security, for a voice from above to tell them how things will be. They longed for my voice. In the years after I rose to power, I used my superior intellect to revolutionize society. Together with my brothers and sisters, I eliminated poverty and sickness within my borders. The concept of need was as archaic as rubbing two sticks together.

There is some truth in this passage. A society in which people are content is a society that is peaceful and prosperous. Problems tend to arise when people feel abused, neglected, and disregarded. I feel that our leaders could learn something from this. Instead of making decisions based upon self-serving ideals, leaders who genuinely put the needs of the people first and foremost would enjoy wider support.

In the end, the oppressed humans discover a biological weapon that could be used against the genetically enhanced persons. In order to save himself and his companions, Khan boards a spacecraft, the infamous Botany Bay, and escapes to the stars, seeking a new world that he can colonize.

If I had to rate this, I’d give it a solid 4 ½ out of 5 stars. The story and the artwork are both great, and I found it thought-provoking as well as enjoyable to read.  Look for my review of Issue #4 soon.

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