Leaders should not seek power or status;
people will not then crave power or status.
If scarce goods are not valued highly,
people will have no need to steal them.
If there is nothing available to arouse passion,
people will remain content and satisfied.

The truly wise do lead
by instilling humility and open-mindedness,
by providing for fair livelihoods,
by discouraging personal ambition,
by strengthening the bone-structure of the people.

The wise avoid evil and radical reform;
thus the foolish do not obstruct them.
They work serenely, with inner quiet.

The best leaders, the people do not notice.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear;
and the next, the people hate.

If you have no faith, people will have no faith
in you, and you must resort to oaths.

When the best leader’s work is done
the people say: “We did it ourselves!”


Ron Heifetz: “in a crisis, we call for someone with answers, decision, strength, and a map of the future — in short, someone who can make hard problems simple… Instead of looking for saviours, we should be calling for leadership that will challenge us to face problems for which there are no simple, painless solutions — problems that require us to learn new way.” Leadership without Easy Answers