An Essential Requirement for Effective Leadership

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This paper has the primary objective to trace the important influences and applicability/utility of Lao-Tzu, Sun Tzu and Nicolo Machiavelli's vision of leadership and their respective influence(s) on "modern" leadership theory as it pertains to the ethical culture and conduct of an organization.


The art of war, in turn, was governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These were: the Moral Law; Heaven; Earth; the Commander (leader) and method and discipline. The Commander (leader) stood for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness. These virtues gelled perfectly with the five cardinal virtues of the Chinese philosophy i.e. humanity or benevolence; uprightness of mind; self-respect, self-control, or "proper feeling;" wisdom and sincerity or good faith. It may be observed that in contrast to the virtues enunciated for a commanding leader the virtues of "wisdom" and "sincerity" are put before "humanity or benevolence," and the two military virtues of "courage" and "strictness" are substituted for "uprightness of mind" and "self-respect, self-control, or 'proper feeling' in this civilian version. Rosenthal explains in his Tao Te Ching's translation that while a sage leader is just, thoughtful, profound, kind, sincere and aims at competence in management while ensuring even pacing of his moves; additionally a wise leader would recognize that the nature is not contrived and all that which is required to be done is to be achieved .In order to save his energies a wise leader replaces desires with dispassion and lets all actions flow through natural energy. ...
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