During the Warring States period, Duke Nao of Jin United twelve vassal states to attack the state of Qin. Xun Yan, a general of the state of Jin, commanded the Allied forces.
Gou Yan thought that the Allied forces of the twelve countries attacked Qin. The Qin army will panic. Unexpectedly, Jinggong had learned that the Allied troops were not in good spirits, so he was not timid and did not want to seek peace. Gou Yan had no choice but to prepare for war. He issued an order to the general of the whole army and said, “tomorrow morning, as soon as the chicken crows, he will start driving horses and cars. All the army should fill in the water wells and dismantle the stoves. During the war, the general of the whole army should look at my horse’s head to determine the direction of action. When I run there, everyone will follow me.”
Unexpectedly, the general of Gou Yan’s army thought that Gou Yan’s feint command was horizontal, and he said, “the state of Jin has never given such an order. Why should we listen to him? Well, his horse head faces west, and I want to face east.”
The deputy of the general said, “he is our head, I listen to him.” so he also led his team to the East: in this way, the whole army was in chaos.
Gou Yan lost his army and sighed, “since the order can’t be carried out, there will be no hope of victory. A battle will certainly benefit the Qin army.” he had to order the whole army to withdraw.
Follow sb’s lead means: follow sb’s actions.