Sun Tzu: A Visionary Leader

1960 Words8 Pages
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” (BAM, 2010, p.20) These words were first written down over 2,400 years ago by a Chinese general named Sun Tzu in his famous military strategy treatise known today as The Art of War. These words, in fact the entire book, are just as valid today as they were during Sun Tzu’s lifetime. He was one of the first truly visionary and ethical military leaders in the world. Despite the fact that there is not much known about Sun Tzu today other than his writings, in this essay, I intend to extract his essence from his treatise to prove he was a visionary leader. I will then continue to prove he was also an ethical leader. Finally, I will finish by…show more content…
For those familiar with the transformational leadership principles of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence (CF02, 2012, p22), it is apparent when reading The Art of War that Sun Tzu used and advocated these principles to develop his soldiers to gain military advantage. While there is no specific mention of intellectual stimulation in The Art of War, one can argue the simple fact of his writing the book is tantamount to this transformational leadership principle. The first of these principles outlined by Sun Tzu, individualized consideration, is basically where a leader develops his/her subordinates and supports their needs as individuals, not just a group of subordinates (CF02, 2012, p22). The clearest example of this principle is contained in chapter ten in which it is written, “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” (BAM, 2010, p40). There are many more examples of this principle scattered throughout his work, and are too many to list here; however, his individualized consideration principles are summed up with the quote “If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual” (BAM, 2010, p37). In other words, individualized
Open Document