Michael In handling the newest equipment situation the other day, I now realize that my leadership style was very much involved. What does your Tao book say about leadership? I've read a lot about participation, and I know the Japanese managers are very participative. Is that where it all comes from?
George Try this one:

He who does not trust enough
Will not be trusted.
(17, 23)

And here's another:

A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.

A good winner is not vengeful.
A good employer is humble.

This is known as the Virtue of not striving.
This is known as the ability to deal with people.
Michael So you should be humble and trust your subordinates. That's consistent with a Theory Y approach. Anything on Theory X?
George Let's see:

When the country is ruled with a light hand,
The people are simple.

When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.
Michael At least the advice is consistent. But I'm not convinced. See, participation isn't always the right approach. Aren't there times when you show a little strength? Some people will take advantage of you if you're soft. Isn't there anything in there about power?
George Oh, absolutely. Power's not a new topic. Here, this is one of my favorite passages:

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of the Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.

Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.

Never take advantage of power.
Michael That reminds me of the situation in Design Engineering where Don Shield came in and cleaned house. Talk about your thorn bushes! He could hardly get anything done for six months after sacking all the section heads. I think about 40% of the technical crew there left the company or transferred out. I don't know how things stand there now, but it sure was rough for a while.
George I think it's stabilized some, and the work's almost back on schedule.
Michael As bad as that was, though, it needed to be done. Guys like Shield don't have it easy coming into totally hopeless situations and trying to turn them around in a hurry. Business needs people like that who get off on power or else some shops would stagnate forever. Don't you agree?
George I can't argue with the results, but maybe Don's attitude might change. He does, as you say, "get off" on exercising power, and that hurts him as much as the actual decisions he makes. Here, this will explain what I mean:

Achieve results, but never glory in them.
Achieve results, but never boast.
Achieve results, but never be proud.
Achieve results, because this is the natural way.
Michael Interesting. The iron hand and the velvet glove maybe. What's especially nice about that passage is that it does say "achieve results" - five different times! I was beginning to think that the Tao was just an excuse for doing nothing. Ha ha. I can see it now: a new best seller: The Tao Te Ching - How to Get Ahead by Doing Nothing! That beats the one-minute manager by a full minute!

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