Leadership According to the Tao Te Ching


At the end of August, the prolific author, speaker, and spiritual leader Wayne Dyer died. For about a month afterwards, to celebrate his life, his publisher and family made all his books available for $2 on Amazon. This inspired me to put the Kindle app on my phone, and I downloaded his book of essays inspired by the ancient Tao Te Ching, “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your LIfe: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.

Since then, I have been reading one of the verses of the Tao every couple of days along with Dr. Dyer’s reflections, wisdom, and easy “do it now” tasks to help readers apply the wisdom to our modern world and busy, often-distracted lives.

Verse 17 is about Leadership. I am sharing it here (in the translation used by Dr. Dyer – there are many others), with some questions below to ponder.

17th Verse of the Tao Te Ching

With the greatest leader above them, people barely know one exists.

Next comes one whom they love and praise.

Next comes one whom they fear.

Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When a leader trusts no one, no one trusts him.

The great leader speaks little.

He never speaks carelessly.

He works without self-interest and leaves no trace.

When all is finished, the people say,

“We did it ourselves.”

So, what resonates with you about this verse?

How do you think it compares with modern writings on and our understanding of leadership and groups?

What has your experience been with different types of leaders, or as a leader yourself? (And make no mistake – we are all leaders in some way!!)

Thinking about the leaders in our country and others (particularly the political ones given the upcoming election), who do you think would fit into the different categories of leader?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!


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