Leadership from The Art of War.
The real leader is like a noble wolf. The wolf standing tall yet humble, with head and tail held high and ears erect living in the present moment who gives direction to his wolf pack.
That wolf pack is a social unit and is essential for the survival of the unit that it is led properly.
A lone wolf will find it difficult to have a lonely existence and will be in a constant fight for survival. So wolves need to work together under a leadership structure and each wolf within the unit will accept its unique position within the pack, like a family member does.
When wolves hunt in a pack they can evoke feelings of fear. But for the wolves to survive they must collaborate for their common cause.
The first chapter of Art of War Master Sun (Sun Tzu) called ‘Laying Plans’. This chapteris about Leadership & OVERALL ASSESSMENT. In each chapter I have begun off with one of our worlds Religious/Spiritual prayers/song lyrics.
Chapter One – OVERALL ASSESSMENT(
In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
Master Sun did not revel in warfare. War was matter of deadly significance to him that involved people and also Heaven itself. War is about survival, and by extension, about protecting peace.
Master Sun said: The Art of War is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a path to safety or to ruin.
The raised vertical hand has FIVE fingers and they represent: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method/Discipline. We use this hand to wipe any sweat from our forehead and place this hand horizontally upon the field where battle is being planned and question ourselves with the following seven considerations:
(1) Which of the two Leaders is with the Moral law?
(2) Which of the two Commanders is more able?
(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
(4) Which side has stronger discipline?
(5) Which army is stronger?
(6) Which side has better trained officers and men ?
(7) Which army has better constancy in reward and punishment?
From these seven – victory or defeat can be felt within the heart of the real warrior.
Master Sun said: The general that follows to my word and acts upon them, will conquer: let such a one be in command. The general that dismisses my words and does not acts upon them, will be defeated: let this general be dismissed.
The upstanding ruler will have heaven on his side. And the general that best understands The Art of War will lead his side to Victory. It is important to plan well and remain humble yet focused than to charge into battle and hope for the best.
The quote by C. S. Lewis -“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” tells us to look at things from others points of view and perception and remain grounded.
Circumstances in battles modify our plans, not everything will go as planned. The purpose is to win the battle not seek personal glory. Warfare is based on deception but we must not decieve ourselves in the process. We should hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feigning disorder, we will crush the enemy. But remember the worst enemy is ourselves, our egos and lack of humility. In fighting the enemy do not become your own enemy.
Be mindful of what Nietzsche said: Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.
The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Many calculations lead to victory. Few calculations to defeat. It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
So to recap:
War is essential to the survival of the nation and the nation that follows Tao, or “The Way” will succeed. If you as a leader are virtuous then you are following the “right path.” By keeping the opponent in the dark of your true intentions you have the advantage.
Understand the motives and plans of opponents and the more you can take control of the situation at hand. The enemy will make his own plans. So keep adjusting to the opponent’s tactics that don’t seem to make any sense to him and you will fustrate him.
Important quotes from to remember:
“The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.”
“Which of the two generals has most ability?”
“On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?”
“Which army is stronger?”
“In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?”
“All warfare is based on deception.”
“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
“If he is in superior strength, evade him.”
“Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”
“If his forces are united, separate them.”
“Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!”
Some mindmaps on leadership:
And a great quote by a great leader:
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