In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, he focuses on how to be a good leader and ensure that you win in whatever it is you do. He first begins with Five Fundamentals: The Way, Heaven, Earth, Command, Discipline. Sun Tzu describes “The Way” as men and their superiors being all on one accord as well as giving them their full trust. “The Way causes men to be of one mind with their rulers, to live or die with them, and to never waver” (Tzu, 3). A true leader will have their people’s support and faith in him/ her. “Heaven” is described as the environment of the conflict. A good strategist understands the conflict of their battlefield. “Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death” (Tzu, 4). “Earth” represents the details of the environment that may change greatly, even over a short distance. Ignorance of these details courts disaster.The fourth fundamental, “Command,” Tzu talks about the person/ people who are in charge, and what they need to possess.“The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness” (Tzu, 4). Being wise doesn’t mean constantly seeking to impress others with one’s wisdom; it’s about being able to speak with the words that are necessary. To be sincere does not mean revealing all of one’s secrets; it is to be truthful with what one does say. Benevolence is not being soft; it’s acting in the best interests of others in the long run, rather than for short-term gain. Being brave is not to being reckless; it’s getting rid of useless fear and hesitation in order to take advantage of the critical moment. To be strict is not to be cruel; it is to ensure that one’s instructions are obeyed, so that the Commander’s words are treated with respect and not contempt, and for the organization to function effectively.The Commander should separate war from peace and never conflate the two. His enemies should know how he treats his friends, and his friends should know how he treats his enemies; in this manner, his friends will not want to become his enemies, yet his enemies, will wish to become his friends. Finally, Sun Tzu refers to “Discipline” as the fifth constant, which is how the people are managed. Should a leader treat his subordinates with respect, rewarding the behavior he wishes to encourage with benevolence, sincerity, wisdom, and above all, consistency, he will not only be respected, but trusted and admired. This is a certain path to victory.
This can apply to USNA because we take classes to help us develop as a leader as well as following our upper class and figuring out which leadership skills we want to apply. I believe the most important technique is command because it entails different virtues that a good leader would have. He goes into depth of what makes or breaks a leader.
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