A Discussion of Generals
Warfare > The Six Secret Teachings
> 3. A Discussion of Generals
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Martial Secret Teachings 3.2 (19)
- 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).
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.
Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China,