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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 10.25-26: Soldiers as Children)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 10.25-26: Soldiers as Children

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X. Terrain

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary
25. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

The bond between a parent and their children is very strong. 'Blood is thicker than water' as the saying goes. The greatest bond is where people would willingly die for one another.

A bond this strong will mean your people will trust you and follow you anywhere. It also means you must actively care for them.

Businesses that build bonds with their employees engender fierce loyalty, encourage additional work levels and cut the many costs of attrition.

26. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose. Parents, having no practice at the art, often spoil their children by giving them too much. Spoilt children petulantly expect to be given what they want without responsibilities nor earning their rewards.

The best way of parenting and the best way of leading soldiers is both to love them and to set high expectations that they will responsibly seek to achieve the best they can.

 

 

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