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Tao Te Ching Of Lao-Tzu Case Study

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The leadership subject seems to be one of the most discussed and researched areas of the 21st century. Typing the word ‘leadership’ in Amazon.com, one of main book providers, produces 111.515 results on different books on leadership, 804 books just in the last 30 days. All of them trying to answer the question: what makes a good leader? What are his or her characteristics? What should her or his personality be? How do we measure their success? These questions are analyzed by wide range of areas, such as religion, companies, corporations, politics etc. And somehow there are few leaders that the society today still celebrates, most of them belonging to the past. (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Jesus etc.)

In the middle of this invasion of leadership studies, the Asian tradition has its own contribution to add to the subject. This paper will try to define leadership and its characteristics based on Tao Te Ching of Lao-Tzu. Since the studies in this class are focused on the relation between philosophy and theology, an attempt to compare leadership characteristics and definition of the Tao with the figure of Christ will be made. First, the focus will be to analyze the concepts of leadership of the Tao, and compare those to the model of leadership offered by Christ.

Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) was written by Laozi, the first philosopher of Chinese Daoism who flourished during the 6th century in China. Although, modern scholars still debate that only a single writer wrote this script, they recognize the influence it has had in Buddhism. Today, Laozi is considered as philosopher by the Confucians and as a saint or god in popular religion. Tao Te Ching offers different themes that could be debated in a book but for t...

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...e leader is not the entertainer and the center of the show, but the one who reflects Christ-likeness in the community. As Hanri Nouwen says, “The servant leader is the leader who is being led to unknown, undesirable, and painful places. The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross . . . . It is not a leadership of power and control, but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest. Jesus sends us out to be shepherds, and Jesus promises a life in which we increasingly have to stretch our hands and be led to places where we would rather not go.” (81)

Toa Te Ching reminds us the importance of focusing on the other rather then on the self. The other is the one who makes the leader great.
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