Top 23 Sun Tzu Leadership Quotes That Are Still Followed Today!

Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC) is a great leader and strategist. He was the first person to write extensively about leadership and strategy, so it would be a good idea to learn from him! 

Leaders are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe, encouraging environment where team members feel empowered to do their best work. A strong leader knows that it’s not always about themselves; they must put their team first to be successful.

Sun Tzu’s teachings have been applied to business to provide insights into how leaders can maximize their team’s potential. 

In this blog post, we will take a look at some Sun Tzu Leadership Quotes and discuss how they can help you become an effective leader.

Sun Tzu Leadership Qualities:

Sun Tzu is credited with being the author of “The Art of War,” a military strategy manual. His leadership qualities are based on his teachings, which are still followed today. 

In ancient China, Sun Tzu was considered one of the greatest generals and strategists ever produced by any culture in history. His book, The Art of War has been used as a primer for many people who want to learn about how best to lead an army from the perspective of someone trained in both military and civilian matters.

Some leadership qualities that Sun Tzu emphasizes in his book include knowing oneself, being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses, understanding the environment, keeping a calm mind under pressure, knowing when to take action and when not to act; acting swiftly and decisively without hesitation or delay; taking responsibility for failures as well as successes; seeking advice from others but following your counsel at all times; mastering strategy in both war-time and peacetime situations; adapting to changes on the battlefield while never letting go of principles like initiative, flexibility, adaptability and creativity. 

Sun Tzu’s leadership principles can be applied to all areas of life; not just war or business management. Anyone wishing to become more effective at leading others should study his lessons carefully.

Top 23 Sun Tzu Leadership Quotes:


A leader leads by example not by force.

Sun Tzu
A leader leads by example not by force - Sun Tzu


Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.

Sun Tzu
Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness - Sun Tzu


The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership - Sun Tzu


A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath.

Sun Tzu


A sovereign should never launch an army out of anger, a leader should never start a war out of wrath.

Sun Tzu


The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Ironically, this highest form of efficacy will often go unnoticed by many people, since the leader’s work seems so effortless and subtle.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


“The wise leader’s plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The wise leader's plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together - Sun Tzu


When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a military leader.” 

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Ask yourself which political leadership—your own or that of your enemy—is able to reject flatterers and draw close to the wise.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.

Sun Tzu


The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

Sun Tzu


Winning isn’t enough. The acme of all skill is to defeat your enemy before taking the field.

Sun Tzu


The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men.

Sun Tzu


When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteoousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.

Sun Tzu


If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive.

Sun Tzu


He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

Sun Tzu


Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.

Sun Tzu


Do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat.

Sun Tzu


Conceal your dispositions, and your condition will remain secret, which leads to victory;  show your dispositions, and your condition will become patent, which leads to defeat.

Sun Tzu


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.

Sun Tzu


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.

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu Leadership Quotes

Who is best paired with Sun Tzu?

Yi Seong-Gye is the best pair for Sun Tzu.

Who said know your enemy?

General Sun Tzu said know your enemy.

What is Sun Tzu's Notable work?

The Art of War is Sun Tzu’s Notable work.

What are Sun Tzu’s most significant thoughts?

“Know the enemy and know yourself”.

General Sun Tzu defines leadership qualities as being decisive, inspiring to those who serve under him, and always striving for victory. What do you think after reading Sun Tzu Quotes about Leadership? We would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts!

See also:

Sun Tzu Quotes on Patience
Sun Tzu Quotes On Strategy
Sun Tzu The Art of War Quotes
Winston Churchill’s Leadership Quotes
Mother Teresa Leadership Quotes
Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Leadership
Marcus Aurelius Quotes Leadership

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