The Lao Tzu Approach to Leadership
If you were to perform a Google search using the phrase “best leadership quotes,” the following one would make or top nearly every list in the results:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” - Lao Tzu
When you consider the stereotypical ‘character’ of a CEO, ‘outspoken’ and ‘face-of-the-company’ may be natural descriptors. Think about leaders such as Tim Cook, Bob Iger, Jeff Bezos, and Marissa Mayer. These well-known CEOs may seem anything but the type to disappear into the background.
So, why does this quote continue to hold true as a source of inspiration for so many leaders? While the aforementioned individuals seem to be front and center during company announcements and major releases, that’s about the only time you see or hear from them. What makes these leaders and others like them so powerful and successful is their ability to encourage and inspire outstanding work in their employees, without taking any credit for themselves, finding pure satisfaction in the success of their team members, the company, and brand.
Becoming the type of leader Tzu acclaims is desirable for many reasons, and following are some tips to help in your development toward this goal:
The important thing to remember is that becoming a great leader is a process. Warren Benis, American scholar, organizational consultant and author, once said, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
So, appreciating this fact, and then taking the necessary time and effort to develop such an art has great probability of producing phenomenal results.