Be a Humble Leader

By Shojiro Koyama:

Martial Arts typically brings to mind technical development, and this is how many operate. But the Japanese traditional culture of “Bushido” or “Budo” follows two (2) paths: Technique and Philosophy.

The Japanese say, Bunpu Ryodo, where technique and philosophy are joined together. Pretty soon I will turn 80 years old. Usually pass on at 80 years old from behind. They do not see it directly in front of themselves and it comes from behind. Usually people look forward, but one gets caught from behind. I do not know my exact future and I too always look forward.

One Japanese businessman, Mr. Kazuo Inamori, has many excellent ideas. He is and industry leader and he has many employees and their families for whom he is responsible as a business owner. From my reading of Inamori’s books, I have a very high impression of the man and his thinking. His thinking is not different than Karate. I say, and Inamori says, “Be a Humble Leader”. If I pass away, you will study Inamori and learn his lessons. Here is an example.

“Be a Humble Leader”

A leader should always remain humble.

Power and authority tend to corrupt a person’s morals and create arrogance and condescension. Under a leader who has qualities such as these, a team might attain temporary success, but it cannot continue growing for long. Eventually, team members will stop cooperating.

Unfortunately, society in general is becoming more self-centered; and our own standards of judgement can all too easily reflect this trend. Our general loss of humility produces needless, counterproductive confrontations. On the other extreme is an old Japanese saying: “You exist: that’s why I exist.” We once acknowledge ourselves as a small part of the whole, and this remains the only way to maintain harmony and cooperation within a group. We should acknowledge that every fact has two aspects – and “see” from both sides.

To develop a sense of community, leaders must have the humility to recognize that they owe their positions to their subordinates! Only a humble leader can build a cooperating team and lead it to harmonious, long-term success.”

Be a humble leader in whatever you do; be it Karate, your family business, your career, and your spiritual life. Put yourself in others’ paths and see it as they see it. Then you and they will become more successful than you can possibly imagine.

50th Annual – Western States KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS –
NOVEMBER 1, 2014