Think about it: Who are your leaders?
Is that your boss, your teachers, your parents, or someone holding political offices?
People in these positions carry the responsibilities of leadership. They should be leading. They are, however, not necessarily the true leader. They could be just leaders in title.
As what Lao Tzu says, the best leader is one whose existence is barely known by the people he leads.
If you think carefully, the true leaders in your life could be someone who are leading you, but leaving no trace of leadership. They get you to do things without force, to the extent that you think you are making your own choice, rather than following his lead.
These are the true leader, who leads without leading.
Think of the good restaurant that you’ve visited recently. How did you decide to give the restaurant a try? It could be nothing but a recommendation from a friend. So your friend was the leader in this case, and you follow his leadership without realizing that he was the leader!
The leadership is so natural. There is no coercion. There is no enticement. The follower just follows as if it is only right to do so. It is the beauty of leadership as taught by Lao Tzu. While it is soft and pliable, it penetrates the hardest and the most rigid.
Just imagine that you can always get people to do things you want in this manner!
You can be such a leader, too, if you can understand the Tao of human nature. You nurture conditions to let things happen, rather than imposing your will to make things happen.
“The best leaders
his people hardly know he exists.
The next best is a leader
his people love and praise.
Next comes one they fear.
Next comes one they despise.
If a leader trusts no one,
no one trusts him. ”
Lao Tze Verse 17