« A leader excels when people hardly know he exists. When his work is done, his goal achieved, they say: we did it. « 

What does this quote from Lao Tzu that may surprise or even shock some tell us?

Being a leader naturally responds to a call to serve others and to that end, a real work of personal development is imposed on him … A beautiful school of wisdom and humility.

Here are some ideas that can fuel our thinking on this topic.


Most of heroic acts are often discrete, without claim. It is through true service to others that we generally find the most authentic expression of what we can call heroism. Provided, of course, that the cause defended is not harmful!

In business as in life in general, to give unconditionally a part of your time, energy, knowledge, ideas, influence, wisdom to help other people to improve their daily lives, is a behavior that deserves our respect, even our admiration. These positive contributions create micro-transformations (and sometimes macro) that gradually change people’s lives, for real. Beyond the noisy declarations which often remain without effect…

Whether it is done on a large or small scale, what matters is to serve up to our possibilities. To bring value according to what we have at a given time. To serve is to want to contribute, without interfering, so that the other is empowered, can solve his problems, achieve his goals.

Serving allows us to put aside, at least for a moment, our own desires and to feel connected to others, thus limiting our propensity for individualism and division which often lead to violence.

If we refer to the leader, his primary mission is to help others grow. By encouraging them to gain vision, autonomy and to mobilize their resources with intelligence and discernment, it helps them to achieve their own goals and develop their own leadership.


There is a real psychological danger of serving others if it is aimed, in a roundabout way, at avoiding self-care. It can even become a real time bomb. Every human being has the vocation, in his life, to initiate an authentic process of personal development. We recognize a leader in particular for his ability to embody this always demanding journey.

However, this personal progression cannot happen if we seek to flee who we are, even if we generate good around us. This phenomenon is sometimes seen in people who dedicate their lives to others but who end up developing the feeling of having put their own life aside. This lack can lead to deep depressions. Or with others whose actions ultimately only aim to give them a contributor image. These are the signs of imbalances that result from a form of illusion.

We are therefore called to reconcile our contribution to others with real work on ourselves. These two dimensions feed each other.

Certainly by serving others we find out a lot about who we are, but that is not enough. We must set out to explore our deep nature of human being. In particular to try to put an end to the conscious and unconscious fears which assail us on a daily basis, create confusion and negatively affect our environment.

This essential work is incumbent on each of us, it is our responsibility. By transforming ourselves from within, we can hope to find a form of harmony and at the same time discover the answers to the problems of the world from which we are largely at the origin. Because everything is linked!


The radiance of a leader is the manifested expression of the energy he manages to develop deep inside. Through his learning, his discoveries and his progress.

Everyone has their own path, no one follows exactly the same. It is a real jungle that we have to cross, in which we do our best to develop our level of consciousness at each step. And there is no universal compass to find your way around.

Traps are set for us throughout our progress, intended to make us more vigilant, more adaptable and ultimately more intelligent. The most pernicious of these traps is that of thought, because it is precisely outside the field of thought that the essential answers are found. Nowadays we spend our time thinking, accumulating knowledge and experience without becoming wiser … Personal development is therefore not the development of the intellect with which we are more than saturated. We must return to more simplicity and, also, to more sensitivity.

Learning to calm our thoughts, in particular through the regular practice of meditation, opens a new space which makes it possible to feel, to perceive differently, more broadly, the sensitive reality in which we evolve. Meditating is not a matter of technique or steps, it is more direct than that. Learn to listen to inner and outer silence. To familiarize ourselves with the principle of vacuum (to rebalance the omnipresent overflow). To be focused on the present. Here are some facets of this practice that leads to inner peace. A practice that is also at the heart of traditional martial arts education.

The path of humility to which the quote from Lao Tzu invites us is the one followed by the most inspiring leaders. Leaders who, through simple but authentic gestures, open our minds to a broader understanding of their true role. These leaders can be each of us, at our level, at our own pace, wherever we are. And without the need to compare ourselves to anyone

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