August 25, 2016 No Comments

Simplicity in Leadership – take a leaf out of Nature

Are You the Boss?

“I’m the Boss!”

Does the statement sound familiar to you? Is this what you would say to get your people to listen to you?

If it is, I’m afraid this does not augur well for your leadership. It’s as if having to tell your children “I’m your father!” so that they would respect you as a parent. Something is missing in the link.


Pyramid of Leadership

“The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist. The next best is a leader who is loved and praised. Next comes the one who is feared. The worst one is the leader that is despised.

Leadership style at its best is so naturally that the people hardly know that the leaders exist. The people follow without thinking that they are following.

This does not mean that such leaders are always pleasing and disarming. They can be tough; or even much tougher than the other leaders. The key point is that they are able to harness the nature of their people, resulting in the people following willingly and wholeheartedly.

The best leaders know how nature works in people.

You can make nature works for you if the combination of three critical elements is right: Time, space and relationship. So long as one of the elements is not right, nature works against you.

Let’s take timing for an example.

As a leader, there are occasions when you can get things done immediately. There are nevertheless also occasions when you simply have to wait.

You are sometimes like a hunter spotting a prey. You take out the rifle, aim, and shoot. Lo and behold, you’ve got the game! The result is immediate; because the element of timing coincides with that of space and relationship.

SaplingYou are sometimes like a farmer. You till the soil, plant the seeds, water the seedlings — and yet nothing happens.

There is no immediate result, because the timing does not coincide with the space and relationship. You will have to wait. It can be months before you can reap the fruits; while working on the other two elements – the space and relationship – to make the harvest possible when the timing becomes right.

In both cases, you will have to respect the element of timing. Whether you should act fast or wait patiently is not decided by you. It is decided by nature.

Leaders become frustrated if they don’t understand this. Many leaders want things to happen immediately– almost yesterday – without giving room to timing, space and relationship to mature.

Remember, there are occasions when you can get your people to do what you want immediately; there are nevertheless occasions when you need to nurture the conditions and wait for the right timing. Just like a farmer would have to till the soil, water the plant in order to see the harvest; as a leader, you have to nurture the trust, build the system, and wait for the right timing to act.

Resorting to position and authority to bulldoze things through is against the laws of nature and may result in to challenge to leadership itself. Only when you follow the laws of nature that your leadership will flourish!


Excerpts from web site Lao Tzu

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