How To Lead Your Team To Victory Sun Tzu Style
“The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack” is one of the famous sayings that can accurately describe what the role of a leader is in any organization. The decisions of a leader can lead a team to success, or bring it to fail.
Nobody is born to be a leader, and history has proven this fact over and over again. Today, we know that leadership is a skill and can be learned. But, how do you learn to be a leader?
There are a lot of books about leadership, but a lot of them are based on the book called the Art of War written by the Chinese general Sun Tzu. Although a lot argue that Sun Tzu never really existed and the book is just a compilation of Chinese theories on military strategy by Chinese generals over the ages.
There is no exact date on when the book was published, but it was believed to be somewhere between the 4th and 5th centuries. Whether or not Sun Tzu really existed, it is clear that the wisdom explained in The Art of War is real and has been used by famous, (and infamous) leaders like Mao Zedong, as well as military generals like Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powel, and Ho Chi Minh to name a few.
But what can this 2,500-year-old book teach us about leadership that is applicable to the 21st century? Let’s explore some of the most popular lessons that this book has on leadership that still holds true even today.
Famous Tidbits from Art of War and What It Means For You As A Leader
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”
To be a good leader, you must first acknowledge your strengths and accept your weaknesses. Being secure in yourself and what you can do will also allow you to judge what you and your team are capable of doing, and you can steer clear of decisions that don’t play up to you and your team’s strengths.
“ A leader leads by example, not by force”
There are many famous historical figures who have practiced the concept of servant leadership. If you are Catholic, Jesus Christ is a good example who lived his life by this principle. He walked, slept, and ate the same way as his disciples and never once asked for special treatment.
Another example would be the great conqueror Alexander the Great who when he was crossing the Hindi Kush Mountains with his troops, lived the same way as his soldiers.
The concept of servant leadership can be confusing. After all, how can a servant be a leader and vice versa? Being a servant leader merely means that you don’t ask anything from your subordinates that you’re not willing to do yourself.
Very simply said, a leader should be a good example to the team because the leader’s actions set the tone for the rest of the team to follow.
“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley”
People are the core of any business. It should not come as a surprise that companies that succeed and stay successful treat their employees right.
There’s a lot of ways that successful companies give importance to their employees.
A good leader possesses a genuine concern for the wellbeing of the people who work for them. And while it’s not possible to be very personal with all of your employees especially if you have a big team, an effort to do so will be appreciated.
“The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.”
In the olden days, generals spent a lot of time reading, learning, and thinking about military strategy and how to best defend his king when the time comes. Of course, in modern times, there is no literal war that has to be fought, but a good leader should always be ready for anything by making sure that he has all the resources in terms of information before making a decision.
For example, in the AEC industry, if the head of the company wants to migrate to a construction project management software for his company, he must first try to find out as much as he can about the product. He can ask industry experts, or maybe read construction project management software reviews before he makes a decision.
The Art of War was written during a time when war was imminent, and generals needed a good strategy to be able to leverage the odds of winning to their advantage.
While there is no actual war to be fought, the strategies and insights that this book had 2500 years ago are still applicable in the 21st century.
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