True Leaders Are Hardly Known

In the spirit of servant leadership comes a beautiful vision of leadership from author Ursula K. Le Guin.

She was a favorite author of mine as a child.  Her Earthsea books kept me up late at night dreaming of discovering magic for myself.  I continue to look.

Ursula K. Le Guin wrote on many topics including Taoist scripture.  She wrote her own rendering of the Tao Te Ching.   One may view this ancient writing as the oldest known on what we call leadership.

Maybe this vision is an ideal … maybe it is naive in today’s world.

I choose to smile, nod my head, and understand as I read it.  It speaks to me.  Leadership is influence.  Nothing says that influence needs to be recognized.

True leaders are hardly known to their followers.

Next best are leaders who are loved.

Next those who are feared.

And the worst are those they despise.

To give no trust.

Is to get no trust.

When the work is done well,

The people say:

We did it ourselves.

7 thoughts on “True Leaders Are Hardly Known

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  1. Leading by following behind – one of those reversals of thinking that the Tao Te Ching is renowned for. I love Le Guin’s particular rendition of the Tao Te Ching. It’s very accessible, clear, and refreshing to read.

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