In these ‘checklists’, Sun Tzu the author would succinctly summarize his thinking in a few words, very often less than ten, and gives us a clear and useful guidelines.
For example, when he talks about the quality of a good leader – or commander in the military sense – he puts that down in only 5 words:
- Wisdom (智)
- Courage (勇), and
Without wisdom, the leader would not be able to see beyond the immediate, and come up with a strategy that would win the final battle.
Credibility, on the other hand, is critical or the leader would not be able to win the trust of his people. The rewards and penalties would become meaningless as nobody believing them, and there is no commitment and spirit are fighting.
Benevolence is important. The leader has to lead with compassion, and fight for a good cause. He has to love his people, and appreciate the hard work and devotions from others.
Courage is critical, especially when the leading is in the war field. The courage of a leader is reflected not only in the way he fights, but also how firm he is when a tough decision is called for, and how swift he acts when an opportunity knocks on the door.
Last but not least, the leader must be strict. Whatever needs to be done has to be done, and to be done in an appropriate manner. This is the only way to instil discipline and command respect — something essential to end efficient army.
Thanks howzey for the picture.