Quotes and Notes from Hugh’s book list.
Today’s notes are on The Tao of Leadership, by John Heider
This little book is full of useful and counter-intuitive ideas. It’s things we usually don’t consider. Many leaders are way too “hands on” with their leadership in attempting to make things happen, when they should be observing how things happen and guide when necessary.
Many times leaders create problems that don’t exist until they intervene. Then we make things worse with our intervention.
Keep this little book handy and just read a page or two at a time. Leave time to think.
Thinking is good and mostly underrated.
The wise leader does not make a show of holiness or pass out grades for good performance. That would create a climate of success and failure. Competition and jealousy follow.
Force and Conflict The leader who understands how process unfolds uses as little force as possible and runs the group without pressuring people. When force is used, conflict and argument follow. The group field degenerates. The climate is hostile, neither open nor nourishing. The wise leader runs the group without fighting to have things a certain way. The leader’s touch is light. The leader neither defends nor attacks. Remember that consciousness, not selfishness, is both the means of teaching and the teaching itself. Group members will challenge the ego of one who leads egocentrically. But one who leads selflessly and harmoniously will grow and endure.
The Paradox of Pushing Too much force will backfire. Constant interventions and instigations will not make a good group. They will spoil a group. The best group process is delicate. It cannot be pushed around. It cannot be argued over or won in a fight. The leader who tries to control the group through force does not understand group process. Force will cost you the support of the members. Leaders who push think that they are facilitating process, when in fact they are blocking process. They think that they are building a good group field, when in fact they are destroying its coherence and creating factions. They think that their constant interventions are a measure of ability, when in fact such interventions are crude and inappropriate. They think that their leadership position gives them absolute authority, when in fact their behavior diminishes respect. The wise leader stays centered and grounded and uses the least force required to act effectively. The leader avoids egocentricity and emphasizes being rather than doing.
The wise leader pays respectful attention to all behavior. Thus the group becomes open to more and more possibilities of behavior. People learn a great deal when they are open to everything and not just figuring out what pleases the teacher.
How can a good reputation be a hindrance? A good reputation naturally arises from doing good work. But if you try to cherish your reputation, if you try to preserve it, you lose the freedom and honesty necessary for further development.