Enlightened Leadership

true leadership
Photo by Kevin Dooley

There are 4 kinds of leaders.

The lowest class of leader is one who is despised – who gains authority by inheritance, position or political ruthlessness.

The next kind of leader is one who is feared – who rules with an iron hand, whose punishment and retribution is swift against those who oppose him.

The next kind of leader is one who is loved – who embraces the people and shares their joys and sorrows, who understands their plight, who is pure in heart.

But the best kind of leader is one who goes unnoticed – he doesn’t assert himself, but trusts in his peoples’ capacities and abilities and empowers them to fulfill their duties and responsibilities; his leadership creates more leaders and encourages others to participate.

This leader knows that in refusing to trust his people, he makes them untrustworthy; in refusing to love them, he makes them unlovable; in refusing to value their independence, he makes them dependent.

This leader doesn’t talk much, but he does much. He doesn’t need to say a lot, but lets his actions speak for him.

And when this leader is done with his work, when he has reached the apex of his success, his people will say, “We did it! And we did it all by ourselves!”

Inspired by the Tao Te Ching, verse 17

No Fruit

Photo courtesy of ARG, Flickr
Photo courtesy of ARG, Flickr

The disciple approached the master and said, “I have been with you for fifteen years and yet it seems that my stay here has yielded no fruit.”

The master replied, “It is true that you have been with me for fifteen years. Yet I have observed that in all those years, you still seek to cling to something, whether to a word I speak or to some obscure passage of scripture. Learn to have the courage to let go completely. Fruit only comes when you are no longer timid enough to shake the tree.”

Non-clinging

The master declared,

“The journey of life is thus:

Imagine yourself and everything you possess falling from a very high cliff.

While falling, you reach out and grab hold of the things around you to stop your fall.

But everything around you is also falling.”

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