The Tao of Leadership: How Taoism Can Help You Achieve Success

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to describe the views on achievement and the main features of effective leadership in the work of the Chinese philosopher Tao Te Ching. I will start with the brief overview of Taoism, then I will analyze how the ideas of change, harmony with the universe, and respect for all living things are related to the idea of good leadership.

2. The philosophy of Taoism

Taoism is one of the major schools of thought in ancient China. Its founder was Lao Tzu, a philosopher and a politician who lived in the 6th century BC. The main principles of Taoism are based on the ideas of “the Way” (Tao), “nature” (te), and “person” (jen). These ideas are reflected in the famous Tao Te Ching, a book that consists of 81 short chapters. In these chapters, Lao Tzu describes the way things work in nature and draws parallels between these processes and human life.

According to Taoism, the universe is constantly changing and everything is interconnected. This principle is also known as the law of yin and yang. Yin represents darkness, cold, moon, femininity, etc., while yang represents light, heat, sun, masculinity, etc. These two forces are complementary to each other and they create a harmony in the universe.

Taoism also emphasises the importance of following the natural flow or “the Way”. This means that humans should not try to control or change nature, but rather go with the flow and let things happen naturally. Lao Tzu believed that humans should live in harmony with nature and learn from it. He believed that this is the only way to achieve true happiness and fulfilment in life.

The third important principle of Taoism is jen or humaneness. This principle emphasises the importance of compassion, kindness, and respect for all living things. According to Taoism, good leaders should treat their followers with compassion and respect their individual needs and differences.

3. The role of change in the universe and in human life according to Taoism

As mentioned above, one of the main principles of Taoism is change. Lao Tzu believed that change is an inherent part of nature and it should be embraced rather than resisted. He believed that humans should flow with the changes in order to achieve harmony with the universe.

Lao Tzu also believed that change is necessary for growth and progress. He used the analogy of a plant to explain this idea: “A plant does not grow because it wants to grow; it grows because it cannot help but grow.” In other words, Lao Tzu believed that humans should not try to control or resist change, but rather let it happen naturally. only by embracing change can we achieve our full potential as individuals and as a society.

4. Summary6

In conclusion, it can be said that Taoism offers a unique perspective on achievement and effective leadership. According to Taoism, good leaders should embrace change and follow the natural flow of the universe. They should also treat their followers with compassion and respect their individual needs and differences.


The main leadership styles in Chinese philosophy are Confucianism, Legalism, and Daoism.

These leadership styles differ from Western leadership styles in a few key ways. For one, they emphasize different values; while Western leadership styles tend to focus on individual achievement, the Chinese leadership styles place more emphasis on group harmony and cooperation. Additionally, the Chinese leadership styles de-emphasize hierarchy and formal authority structures, instead relying on personal relationships and informal networks of influence. Finally, the Chinese leadership styles tend to be more flexible and adaptable than their Western counterparts, often incorporating elements from multiple philosophies into their approach.

Each of these leadership styles has its own benefits. Confucianism emphasizes moral values and ethical behavior, which can create a more harmonious and cohesive team. Legalism focuses on efficiency and results, which can lead to greater productivity. And Daoism emphasizes balance and harmony with nature, which can help reduce stress levels and promote creativity.

There is no one perfect time to use any particular leadership style; it depends on the situation at hand. That said, Confucianism is typically most effective when there is a need for moral guidance or when relationships need to be repaired or strengthened. Legalism is usually most effective when there is a need for quick results or when there is an existing power structure that needs to be maintained. And Daoism is often most effective when there is a need for creative problem-solving or when the environment is particularly stressful.

There are some drawbacks to using any single leadership style exclusively in China; because each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, using only one may result in imbalances that could lead to problems down the road. It's usually best to incorporate elements from multiple philosophies into your approach in order to get the best results