"Rule a large country as you would cook a small fish"
- Lao-tzu, The Way of the Tao
Although very little is known about Lao-tzu, the teachings found in The Way of the Tao have become the foundation of a way of life for twenty million people today.
The name Lao-tzu itself is more a title that literally means "old master" so it could simply be a name, similar to Homer or Preacher in Ecclesiastes, labeling someone who has written a famous or ancient work.
There is even doubt that Lao-tzu actually wrote The Way of the Tao, or any other one person for that matter. Despite this mystery, the work and it's famous quote stated above are attributed to Lao-tzu, and the followers of the religion that grew from it don't seem to mind.
The title statement has been misused a thousand times by speakers who simply wanted to appear worldly and educated to his audience, or maybe even to impress a girl by looking like a deep thinker who is well-read.
Many of the lessons in The Way of the Tao are open to personal interpretation, and I will simply offer my own as it appears to pertain to the management of a workforce.
With it's terseness and trace of humor, this famous line looks to advise political moderation and the modesty of wisdom. The wise governor governs least and interferes least.
As opposed to the dangerously broad strokes common to the risk-takers, a bit more tact and diplomacy is called for in today's work environment.
2015 The Leader Coach - JB Stran