28 March 2019
Thesis statement: the Business success of Jack Ma and Elon Musk is the result of their leadership qualities having relevance with Sun-Tzu, Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli's ideologies.
Leadership qualities of Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu and Machiavelli set an exemplary model for the current world leaders. the writings of the three authors reveal the traits that are essential for leadership. Laro-Tzu denies the myth that leaders are born, instead claims that it evolves. This reflects the notion that true leaders are made not born. The business performance and leadership of Jack Ma and Elon Musk reflect they possess several leadership traits identified by the three writers.
Lao-Tzu known as ‘contemporary of Confucius’ emphasize on five leadership traits in his book The Art of War that a leader must possess. The five attributes recognized by Tzu include credibility, intelligence, discipline, courage, and humanness. The culture prevailing on an organization has a significant impact on business that depicts the need for promoting adequate team and personal development. Sun-Tzu stresses on leader's intelligence that depends on his skills set and competency. Art of war according to him utilize the five factors for taking “into account one’s deliberation, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field” (S. Tzu). The rules need not to share his ideas with the people because they will be happier when they know less. Leader’s ability to foresee the challenges reflects his ability of handling teams inappropriate manner. controlling employees or workers remains an essential feature of the leadership traits explained by Sun-Tzu. Only through intelligence, a leader can influence the workers that would allow him to use them in the best interest of the the organization.
The leadership characteristics highlighted by Sun-Tzu and Lao-Tzu are possessed by Jack Ma. His intelligence allowed him to excel in the business world. A prominent leadership quality of Ma includes his ability to controlling and convincing employees. Global intelligence allowed him to collaborate in different industries that resulted in the maximization of organizational gains.
A leader is one who is feared for his courage and power but not hated. Machiavelli stresses on the authoritative role of a leader because it gives him relative strength of controlling people. He must possess the power of driving individuals towards the attainment of his goals. He claims that a leader should establish a positive public image because it convinces the people to follow him. He must possess sufficient energy for ruling the people. He mentions, “when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them” (Machiavelli). His passion and determination are essential tools that secure his position and power. If a leader is lacking in energy he would fail to control the team. The attribute of influencing followers is apparent in Elon Musk's leadership style. His emphasis on workers wellbeing exhibits his strategy of building a positive public image. This allowed him to build a positive relationship with the employees that have positive impacts on business culture.
Developing a contingency plan is part of effective leadership without which an organization cannot survive. Sun-Tzu claims that true leadership requires to "prepare his forces for all tactical contingencies that may arise in the field of battle” (S. Tzu). This reflects his competency of responding in adverse situations. Experience and skills permit leaders to foresee the challenges that could undermine organizational efficiency. In such situations, a leader must be able to choose the right course of action that secures the position of the organization. Adoption of an adequate security program is also crucial for leadership. Lao-Tzu claims that true leadership demands command and control. This indicates the art of influencing workers and using them for organizational advantage. The leader is to lead and the worker is to follow. This is possible only when the leader is capable of convincing workers. Lao's ideology is adopted by Jack Ma in his business decisions. Must have adopted a contingency plan for responding to the workplace injuries. This reflects he possesses leadership traits explained by Lao. The leadership of Musk responds to the situations of injury or inconvenience that confirms his role in promoting safety.
Ideas play a profound role in enhancing leadership. According to this notion, a leader must be brave encough for impletenting ideas that could contribute to organizational success. Lao-Tzu states, "non-existence give birth the one to the idea of the other; that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length and shortness fashions out the one the figure of the other" (L. Tzu). Ideas are extremely powerful that motivate the team to follow the directions of the leader. Lao's idea is to present a model of a perfect leader by showing concerns towards employees. This is also used for maintaining balance in the world. A similar idea is adopted by Musk by choosing the right people for right task. Engagement in safety practices depicts that Must adopted Lao's strategy.
The philosophy of Lao-Tzu stresses on leading the team from behind. This suggests putting everyone else on the front for engaging them directly with the goal. when workers are given the opportunity of working on the front line they will be motivated to take their roles seriously. This can also be seen as a leadership strategy of appreciating people and making them feel part of the organization. When people will get to celebrate their victory they will exhibit strong connectivity with the organization. Allowing employees to work on the front line also encourage positive response among workers. Another attribute explained by Lao-Tzu is the ability of a leader to teach the team strategies for overcoming desires. He mentions, "not to value and employ men of superior ability in a way to the people from rivalry among themselves" (L. Tzu). This reflects the significance of managing employees in an inappropriate manner that prevents them from engaging in situations of rivalry. According to the writing of Lao-Tzu, it is not productive for the organization when the employees create extreme rivalry among themselves. This also allows them to excite their desires that will undermine the attainment of organizational goals. Musk and Ma in their organisations focus on eliminating conflicting situation s by addressing the concerns of the employees.
Compared to Lao's philosophy, Sun emphasizes on courage and strictness of the leader. He claims that a leader cannot use the employees for the betterment of the organization until he adopts strictness in his actions. He states, "the commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness" (S. Tzu). When the leader lacks benevolence he loses his power of controlling the people. it is thus crucial to prove his sincerity and benevolence towards the organization and its people. A certain degree of strictness is required for controlling the people and convincing them to work for the attainment of common organizational goals. courage allow a leader to take bold decisions that result in the advantage of the organization. Such personality attributes maximize the likelihood of victory and success. Ma in his business practices adopts strictness that convinces employees to follow rules and regulations.
Leaders can perform better in originations if they possess the leadership attributes identified by Sun-Tzu, Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli. Elon Musk and Jack Ma managed to attain success due to the adoption of certain leadership traits highlighted by the three writers.
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