By Jing Yuan and Jade Pearce | Epoch Times Staff
During China’s Tang Dynasty, there was a time when the dynasty was nearly destroyed by the Anshi Rebellion.
It was the great general and Minister of War, Guo Ziyi, who helped to quell the rebellion in the north, restoring control to the Tang Emperor.
Shortly after, one of the Tang generals Pugu Huai’en rebelled against the Tang government. Leading the soldiers from Shuofang territory, he formed an alliance with the regions of Huige and Tufan, and amassed an army of 10,000 men to attack the capital, Chang’an.
Reeling from the threat of a second rebellion, the imperial government immediately put Guo Ziyi in charge. They promoted him to Minister of Defence and bestowed several functional and superficial titles on him, including Overseer of Fenning, Jingyuan, Hexi and Shuofang territories, and Head of the Secretariat.
However, Guo Ziyi adamantly requested to have the Minister of Defence and other titles removed, keeping only the Overseer title. His work on the battlefield was not driven by titles or promotions, and he saw no need for them.
Moreover, as he justified to the Emperor, the Anshi rebellion has triggered much political unrest. His subordinates and soldiers now considered achieving greater power and status by any means possible to be the trend. Guo hoped that the imperial court would reemphasize gentlemanliness over political status, by starting with his example.
Guo Ziyi had once been general of the Shuofang soldiers, who loved and respected him very much for his moral reputation. So when Guo arrived in Shuofang as Overseer, the Shuofang soldiers immediately left Pugu Huai’en and returned under Guo’s command. Seeing this, the Tufan and Huige soldiers retreated as well without a fight.
With only 300 of his 10,000 men left, Pugu Huai’en fled to Lingwu. Guo returned to the capital victorious, where, after appealing to the court three times, he was finally allowed to step down from the title of Minister of Defence.
Few generals in Chinese history could have achieved the victory that Guo did with so little bloodshed. Yet it was Guo’s incredible moral nature as a leader that inspired the rebelling soldiers to give in to him willingly. Guo insisted on turning down the titles as he was concerned about the message he was sending to his subordinates and soldiers, and this reflects the kind of leader he is.
Lesson to Learn: Bosses who take one for the team, or think of their employees before they act, become greatly respected by their employees. Their employees are then more likely to reciprocate with loyalty, diligence, and tolerance. Perhaps one day, they may willingly take one for their boss too!