Are you an Effective Leader?


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Leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching

One of the simplest and the best definitions that i have come across for good and effective leadership is in the Tao Te Ching.

I was reading the English translation (by Derek Lin) of this ancient chinese text and came across this quote in chapter 17:

The highest rulers, people do not know they have them,

The next level, people love them and praise them,

The next level, people fear them,

The next level, people despise them,

If the rulers trust is insufficient,

Have no trust in them.

Proceeding calmly, valuing their words,

Task accomplished, matter settled,

The people all say, “We did it Naturally”

So, the most effective leaders are those who are never in the way of the people whom they lead. They make their followers feel as if they achieved everything all by themselves, without even noticing the presence of the leader.

The next best leaders are those whom people love and praise. Then come leaders who get things done by instilling fear in their people. Majority of managers fall in this category. They use their power (by virtue of their position) to push people to try & get things done.

Then come the leaders whom their followers actively despise. There is no trust in them or their leadership.

So, where in the leadership spectrum do you fall in?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at


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