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15 Leadership Strategies From Ancient Chinese Wisdom – Sun Tzu’s Art Of War

15 Leadership Strategies From Ancient Chinese Wisdom – Sun Tzu’s Art Of War

Sun Tzu’s Art Of War is believed to have been written in the sixth century or 512 BCE (Before Common Era). The text is considered to be one of the Seven Military Classics in China. The work is considered poetic, in its great wisdom. Now the famed classic may be used to determine leadership qualities, as well as, strategies in business.

1. Never Lead By Force

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    • “The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness.”
    • “The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.”
    • “Hence in the wise leader’s plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together.”

    2. Know The Competition

    • “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder and crush him.’
    • “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”
    • “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

    3. Doing Nothing Is Better Than Acting Out Of Fear

    • “If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.”
    • Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
      hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer
      a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
    • “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and
      destroy its victim.”

    4. Always Plan Ahead

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      • “Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.”
      • “By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, he keeps the enemy without definite
        knowledge. By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from anticipating
        his purpose.”
      • “According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.”

       5. Refrain From Decision-Making When Angry

      • “No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.”
      • “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence
        consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
      • “Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their
        cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the
        field.”

      6. Study The Competition

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        • “He who knows things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.”
        • Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.”
        • “What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”

        7. Use Your Team Wisely

        • “The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy.”
        • “When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped to go rolling down.”
        • “If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak. If the banners and flags are shifted about, sedition is afoot. If the officers are angry, it means that the men are weary.”

        8. Act Like A Leader

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          • “It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order.”
          • “He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance.”
          • “Bestow rewards without regard to rule, issue orders without regard to previous arrangements; and you will be able to handle a whole army as though you had to do with but a single man.”

           9. Trust Yourself

          • “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
          • He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”
          • “He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.”

          10. Think Strategically

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            • “With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his
              triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.”
            • “It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack
              him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.”
            • “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”

            11. Know Yourself

            • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
            • “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”
            • “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

            12. Think Diplomatically

            •  “All warfare is based on deception.”
            • “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow
              arrogant.”
            • “Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated
              with long delays.”

            13. Never Lose Sight Of The Goal

            • “In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.”
            • “He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.”
            • “To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.”

            14. Have A Plan

            • “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
            • “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
            • “When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.”

            15. Know When To Quit

            • “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”
            • “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
            • “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”

             

             

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            Last Updated on May 24, 2019

            How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

            How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

            If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

            Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

            1. Create a Good Morning Routine

            One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

            CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

            You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

            If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

            The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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            2. Prioritize

            Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

            Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

              If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

              Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

              How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

              3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

              One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

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              Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

              Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

              Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

              And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

              4. Take Breaks

              Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

              To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

              After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

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              I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

              5. Manage Your Time Effectively

              A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

              How do you know when exactly you have free time?

              By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

              With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

              Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

              A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

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              20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

              6. Celebrate and Reflect

              No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

              Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

              Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

              More Articles About Daily Productivity

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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