“To lead people, walk beside them,” says Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism and author of Tao Te Ching. “As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.”
Although he is thought to have lived in the 6th century BCE, Lao Tzu’s perspective has a great deal to teach us about leadership today. No matter the industry.
While some may say that effective leadership is getting people to follow you, others like Lao Tzu say it’s really the ability to get your team to succeed without you.
Jesse Lyn Stoner argues that “the test of leadership effectiveness is what happens when you’re not there.”
How does a leader create the groundwork for this kind of success?
Mr. Rogers has some advice – love what you do. Love what you do in front of your employees and you’ll inspire their innovation.
“I remember in the nursery school where I worked when I was doing my masters in childhood development,” Mr. Rogers recounts in an interview with Charlie Rose, “there was a man who would come every week to sculpt in front of the kids. The director said, ‘I don’t want you to teach sculpting. I just want you to do what you do and love it in front of the children.”
Mr. Rogers goes onto to describe that after watching this, the children’s sculpting creativity spiked in a way it never had before.
It may seem simple, but as Mr. Rogers phrases it, “Attitudes are caught. They are not taught.”
Without the right attitude of leadership, the rest of the team will crumble and the results a failure – no matter how great the product or service. The products or services you’re offering are only as good as the team behind them.
Lee Colan, Co-founder of the L Group, echoes the same sentiment. He explains that “New or unique products or services might get you into the game, but only your team can deliver victory and create a ‘wall’ that is higher and harder for your competitors to climb.”
Simply put, he says, leadership matters.
“Inspiring leadership is the single biggest factor in achieving extraordinary results,” Colan proclaims.
That’s not to say that YOU, the leader, are the only reason why your team succeeds. Instead, the leader’s role is to motivate and inspire people to reach their full potential.
“When the best leader’s work is done,” Lao Tzu explains, “the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'”