Essay Sample on Application of Lao-Tzu's Concept in Real Life

Published: 2023-04-01
Essay Sample on Application of Lao-Tzu's Concept in Real Life
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership management
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1045 words
9 min read

In his book 'Thoughts from the Tao te Ching,' Lao-Tzu describes the characteristics of a good leader in government. He offers invaluable lessons on how effective leaders should behave for them to achieve success in their duties as leaders. His book has been used by many people, especially politicians all over the world, and he has been cited as one of the most influential founders of Taoism, which is a concept used to emulate excellent leadership skills. Most of the lessons or suggestions in the book center on effective leadership in the government. However, most of the lessons can be applied to everyday life in the workplace, at home, and even in interactions with other people.

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Taoism asserts that leaders have a significant duty of serving their people without looking for personal gains or try to be appreciated for it. Lao states that ''the best are like water, good at benefiting all things without competing for gain'' (Lao-tzu 91). Lao says that a leader has no aspirations but takes after those of the servants as his own. It is only when a leader shows selflessness that he can serve people truly and not compete with them. This is an excellent quality that can be applied to the workplace or at home as parents. In agreement with Lao Tzu, Allen, Prince, and Gong state that a leader or manager in an organization should not be selfish and only look to develop himself or gain benefits that only serve his ego or interest. In an organization, a leader should consider the ambitions of his subordinates and the organization's (Allen, Prince, & Gong 23). A manager can only achieve respect, loyalty, and success when he aligns his leadership style with the goals of the entire organization, as opposed to his own goals.

Similarly, parents can emulate Lao's leadership quality of selflessness. Parents must be selfless for them to be able to fulfill the needs of their children and their families. Educating children can be a heavy task that requires sacrifice and dedication. Therefore, a parent must be willing to adopt the needs of their children and sacrifice their leisure to ensure that they get a good education and a good life. They need to sacrifice their time, their energy, and their resources to make good leaders in the family.

Furthermore, Lao-Tzu states that "The highest value (or the best) is like water, The value in water benefits All Things And yet it does not contend, It stays in places that others despise, And therefore is close to Dao" (Lao-tzu 102). From this quote, it can be argued that Lao urges leaders to be modest and humble. Good leaders should always aspire to learn and avoid being overly confident in their endeavors. Muteswa, in his article, asserts that in today's corporate world, many leaders enjoy being aggressive, authoritative, and assertive for them to feel like the bosses. They demand subjectivity and submission from their subordinates with the thought that this is how they can earn respect (Muteswa 135). An excellent example of such a leader was Leona Hemsley, who led through a dictatorship. However, this style of leadership commanded fear instead of respect from her employers. Her employees ended up leveraging charges against her, which saw her being imprisoned.

For this reason, therefore, leaders in the corporate world should emulate Lao's leadership quality of humility and modesty. A modest leader is one who is willing to benefit and help others. Their ability to keep a low profile like water enables them to earn respect and influence other people in a positive manner (Lao-tzu 113). Lao articulates that modest and humble live in good harmony with all people and are also useful, just like the seas and the rivers.

Additionally, Lao-Tzu states that a leader should only let his people know and desire that which cannot result in decay. He says that this can only be done if a leader prevents his servants from developing desires or thoughts that could result in unlawful conduct and corruption. He adds that if a sovereign meets their people's needs, they will not disrespect them or question their authority (Lao-Tzu 112). This quality can be applied to parenting and management at large. A good parent should take good care of their children to prevent them from moral decay. For example, parents who feed their children, educate them and ensure their overall well-being prevents them from activities such as stealing and deception. In the same way, a manager who pays his employees well according to their duties will prevent them from engaging in corrupt activities or stealing from the organization to fulfill their needs.

However, Lao-Tzu gives one quality of a leader that many may not agree with. He states that a good ruler should be invisible and remain unconcerned about the daily affairs of the people that they serve. He adds that a leader who adopts this method avoids any blame regarding unfavorable state decrees (Lao-Tzu 57). Lao's assertion is that a ruler can only ensure social harmony and peace by isolating his nation and people from interacting with those from other states. Some critics do not agree with this method of leadership. For a leader to be effective, they should exercise a servant-leader approach. They should be more hands-on and present at all times. Visible leaders ensure that their employees know that their opinions are heard and that they have a present guide at all times (Nevicka, Barbara, et al. 703) Therefore, Leaders should not take an invisible role whether in the family or at the workplace. Presence and visibility are essential elements that significantly contribute to success.

Works Cited

Lao-Tzu. B. Boison. "Lao Tzu's Tao-Te-Ching: A Parallel Translation Collection." Boston: GNOMAD Publishing. (1996).

Allen, Gregory W., Prince A. Attoh, and Tao Gong. "Transformational leadership and affective organizational commitment: mediating roles of perceived social responsibility and organizational identification." Social Responsibility Journal (2017).

Miska, Christof, and Mark E. Mendenhall. "Responsible leadership: A mapping of extant research and future directions." Journal of Business Ethics 148.1 (2018): 117-134.

Muteswa, R. "Qualities of a good leader and the benefits of good leadership to an organization: A conceptual study." European Journal of Business and Management 8.24 (2016): 135-140.

Nevicka, Barbara, et al. "Narcissistic leaders: An asset or a liability? Leader visibility, follower responses, and group-level absenteeism." Journal of Applied Psychology 103.7 (2018): 703.

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