The Annotated Art of War (Parts 9.42-45: Control of Soldiers)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 9.42-45: Control of Soldiers
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IX. The Army on the March
|Sun Tzu said:
42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they
will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically
useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not
enforced, they will still be unless.
||Many people, even
today, in command still use the stick before the carrot, believing
this is the way to gain compliance.
Few soldiers are, by nature,
submissive. Starting out with a hard approach risks creating grudges
and consequent truculence and subterfuge.
If you first get their respect, however, then they will accept
punishment more easily.
43. Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity,
but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road to
principle of bonding
applies here, including gaining
rapport. Care must be taken here, however, as interacting with
soldiers is not the same as with civilians.
Just being 'nice' is not enough and is likely to lose respect.
Give respect in order to get respect. Be reliable and honest.
As long as discipline is seen as fair, albeit harsh, and you are
seen as competent, then it will far more likely be accepted.
|44. If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army will
be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.
||Never let a command
be ignored as this is teaching soldiers that commands are optional.
Once a command is given, it should be seen through, although this
should not make you blind. If it appears that the command was
unwise, it can be changed with another firm command.
|45. If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders
being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.
||When you expect a
high performance from people, and they seek your approval, then they
will strive to meet your expectations.
In business, showing
confidence includes avoiding
micromanagement and other poor and disrespectful techniques.