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A Discussion of Generals

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 3. A Discussion of Generals

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Martial Secret Teachings 3.2 (19)

Observed lessons

  • Generals have five critical talents: courage, wisdom, benevolence, trustworthiness and loyalty.
  • They also may make any of ten errors: overly courageous and treating death lightly (defeated by violence), hasty and impatient (defeated by persistence), greedy and profit-focused (can be bribed), so benevolent they cannot inflict suffering (can be worn down), wise but afraid (can be distressed), overly trusting (can be deceived), scrupulous but unloving (defeated by insult), wise and indecisive (defeated by sudden attack), resolute and self-reliant (confounded by events), and being fearful and giving away responsibility (can be tricked).

Discussion

These are useful criteria for recruiting any leader. It is perhaps an indictment of modern management that very few senior manager could be score highly on the five talents.

Note how a number of the errors are made by ineffective application of talents. This indicates dangers in any talent or area of strength, where unless it is understood and applied well, can become a weakness.

See also

Leadership

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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