There are 4 kinds of leaders.
The lowest class of leader is one who is despised – who gains authority by inheritance, position or political ruthlessness.
The next kind of leader is one who is feared – who rules with an iron hand, whose punishment and retribution is swift against those who oppose him.
The next kind of leader is one who is loved – who embraces the people and shares their joys and sorrows, who understands their plight, who is pure in heart.
But the best kind of leader is one who goes unnoticed – he doesn’t assert himself, but trusts in his peoples’ capacities and abilities and empowers them to fulfill their duties and responsibilities; his leadership creates more leaders and encourages others to participate.
This leader knows that in refusing to trust his people, he makes them untrustworthy; in refusing to love them, he makes them unlovable; in refusing to value their independence, he makes them dependent.
This leader doesn’t talk much, but he does much. He doesn’t need to say a lot, but lets his actions speak for him.
And when this leader is done with his work, when he has reached the apex of his success, his people will say, “We did it! And we did it all by ourselves!”
Inspired by the Tao Te Ching, verse 17