12. There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: Recklessness, which leads to destruction; cowardice, which leads to capture; a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;

故將有五危必死可殺也必生可虜也忿速可侮也廉潔可辱也愛民可煩也

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is warning about the dangers of certain faults that can affect a general’s ability to lead and make sound decisions in battle.

Recklessness” refers to a lack of caution or carelessness, which can lead to unnecessary destruction or defeat. “Cowardice” is a lack of courage, which can result in a failure to stand firm in the face of danger and ultimately lead to capture. “A hasty temper” refers to a quickness to anger or impatience, which can be easily provoked by insults or provocations from the enemy.

Sun Tzu is cautioning against these faults because he believes that they can greatly hinder a general’s ability to lead effectively in battle. He argues that a good general should be able to stay calm and composed in the face of adversity, and avoid making rash or impulsive decisions that could harm their own forces.

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a leader: recklessness, which leads to failure; cowardice, which leads to surrender; a hasty temper, which can be provoked by criticism; lack of foresight, which can result in missed opportunities; and over-confidence, which can lead to arrogance and complacency.

A leader should be cautious of certain faults that can hinder their ability to lead effectively. These include: recklessness, cowardice, a hasty temper, lack of foresight, and over-confidence.

A leader who is reckless may make impulsive, poorly-thought-out decisions without considering the potential consequences. This can lead to failures, such as financial losses, damage to the company’s reputation, or harm to employees or customers.

A leader who is cowardly may lack the courage to take risks or stand up for what they believe in. This can lead to surrendering to competitors or giving in to external pressure, even when it is not in the company’s best interests.

A leader with a hasty temper may be easily provoked by criticism or opposition, and may make rash decisions or act impulsively in response. This can create conflicts within the organization or with external stakeholders, and can damage the company’s reputation or relationships.

A leader with a lack of foresight may be unable to anticipate future developments or trends in the market, and may miss out on opportunities to innovate or stay ahead of the competition. This can result in lost revenues or market share.

A leader who is over-confident may become arrogant and complacent, believing that they are infallible and that their decisions are always correct. This can lead to a lack of humility and a failure to listen to others, which can ultimately hinder the company’s ability to adapt and evolve in response to changing circumstances.