Yinyang Balance

Essential Tao Leadership


A good Tao leader always finds her yinyang balance.

She has a strong sense of direction. To stay close to reality, nevertheless, she is highly adaptable. She initiates changes decisively to stay on course.

Her composure and vitality hold her people together. They move along with her, even in time of uncertainty.

tao and water yinyang

She is like water.

Water always finds its balance. No matter how big the storm is, water regains its balance before long.

Water is able to stay balanced at all time, because it is yielding and pliable.

In order to lead, it follows. Look at where water is! It can be in the purest form of nourishment in our body. It can be in the filthiest drains. Like water, good leader goes to anywhere that requires her, close enough to feel the vibration of her people.

Although water is yielding, it is not weak.

It can penetrate a rock. It can sweep away a town.

So is Tao leader. She is powerful. She inspires. People listen to her, even when she is silent. This is because she commands not by authority and tyranny, but by mobilizing energy in her people. Her leadership is so subtle, her people does not know that she exists.

As Lao Tzu puts it,

”Good trek leaves no trace,
Good speech makes no slip,
Good calculation needs not counters,
Good door use no bolts, yet it cannot be opened
Good bond uses neither cord nor knot, yet it cannot be untied” (27)

Exercise: Yinyang of leadership

Understand yingyang helps you to stay balanced as a leader.

Yin and yang are two sides of a dualism. It is like the head and the tail of a coin. It is in the core of Taoism.

Yin and yang are present in every existence. Yin is feminine, and yang is masculine. In an organization, employees are yin, and management is yang. In marketing, selling is yin, and advertisement is yang.

The yinyang relationship is not static. While opposing, they are complementary. They are also convertible. Yin can become yang, and yang can become yin. Under most circumstances, however, we are neither faced pure yin nor pure yang, but various degrees of yin and yang.

As a leader, it helps if you have knowledge of yin-yang.

Even if you cannot tell exactly what is yin and what is yang, the awareness of yinyang directs your attention to energy fields in groups. As a leader, your job is not to eliminate yin-yang polarity. Your job is to strike a balance between opposing energies.

tao and yinyang management

Imagine that you are in a room where there is a heated argument.

The anxiety and agitation is mainly yang. If you are equally emotional, you add to the yang energy, tilting the energy field towards excessive yang.

In Tao, excessive yin or yang gets you sick. In this case, the excessive yang could end up the parties turning hostile.

As a Tao leader, your immediate concern could well be balancing the yin-yang energy field. You may introduce some yin energy into the room by, for example, injecting silence. With the silence, the energy field is shifted towards yin, and a new yin yang balance may emerge.

You don’t always get the yin yang balance at the first attempt. But by being sensitive to the energy fields, chances of you getting the yin yang balance are higher.

With ying-yang equilibrium, harmony is achieved. In this case, the group energy becomes one.

This is what Lao Tzu described as oneness.

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