TED Conversations

Alan Klayman

This conversation is closed.

What does Lao Tsu mean to you when said: "To lead people, walk behind them"

I want to know what this philosophy means to you, and how you have implemented it in your life.

Share:
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2011: I feel to lead you must learn to serve, and to serve you must be able to observe those whom you're serving. You can't do this from the front of the pack.
    • thumb

      . . 100+

      • +1
      Nov 5 2011: "You can't observe those whom you are leading/serving from the front of the pack" - Excellent guidance.Thanks Randall :)
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2011: The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, 'We did it ourselves.' – Lao Tsu

    A leader, by walking behind and offering help as needed empowers the people to "lead themselves" and in so doing the people will truly be able to say, "We did it ourselves."

    As Randal Bretz says, a true leader is a servant. A servant first, I might add.
  • thumb
    Nov 6 2011: Show the people you lead deference and repsect. Do not make them feel you are lording over them. Allow them to feel superior.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2011: Excellent Randall, very well said.

    To serve is key, but to what end, what target? Lao Tsu was wise and knew a leader must be in touch with the whole of society. Walking behind gives a very different perspective than viewing from above.
  • thumb
    Nov 10 2011: I think it means that real leaders are there to support their people. From behind them you percieve their struggles and obstacles and can formulate solutions. From behind them you can give real support.
  • Nov 10 2011: A true leader thinks, that if people win under his leadership, it's their victory;
    if they fail - it's his fault.
  • thumb
    Nov 5 2011: so they get shot first
    • Nov 7 2011: Mr. Pintér.
      Your comments reveal an exceptionally intelligent mind and now, a wonderful sense of humor.
      I applaud you for being able to prioritize so well.

      And I must admit. I agree with you 100%.
      I noticed there is no question mark at the end of your comment.

      To paraphrase from the political vernacular of American politics:
      "no leaders left behind"