'Hence, one may infer that to Lao Tzu, a ruler must be more of a guardian of the state, rather than a despot. This view, that a ruler must be more of a guardian, than an actively involved leader, is further supported by his claim that those who are fit for leadership are people who can adequately treat and protect the state as if it were themselves. Finally, he claims that a ruler should neither boast nor make light of his/herself, and rather, should maintain a demeanor that creates a necessary distance between them and their people, for their safety, as well as for the preservation of the honor of their station.
According to the philosopher Machiavelli, there are various ways in which a ruler can control his/her domain. Of the many principalities which can exists, he finds that those which are inherited are easier to rule than others. This is because, the main purpose of a ruler who inherits their position, is to maintain the traditions of their ancestors, as well as to govern in an adaptable manner so that their power may continue to endure. Furthermore, issues concerning how to control a principality that is already established, but comes under the power of a new leader is also addressed by Machiavelli. He recommends that the use of excessive force to control a newly acquired people is to be avoided.18 This is so that they do not grow to despise their new leader, and thus, jeopardize the social order of the state. Also, he recommends that the best way for a new ruler to avoid political turmoil in an already established domain, would be to neither alter the law nor raise the people’s taxes. Hence, one may infer that to Machiavelli, the people of a nation are not to be interfered with, especially if it puts a leader in danger and/or disturbs societal peace.'
I've always thought the writings were different, even in their similarity. Read the whole thing here.