Manager’s Toolbox – The boy who became emperor

An old Chinese emperor wanted to choose his successor and so he summoned all the youths to his palace. He have them some seeds and asked them to plant the seeds. He told them that in a year’s time, he would judge their plants and choose the new emperor.

One youth named Ling took his pot home and planted the seed. Every day he watered it but nothing grew. His friends at school were talking about their growing plants but Ling only had an empty pot.

When the day came to return to the palace, Ling went with a frightened heart. All the other youths had magnificent plants. When the emperor saw Ling’s plant, he summoned him to the front and announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! He has courage and integrity for all the seeds I gave you were boiled and useless. He was the only one not to cheat. He will be a wise ruler over you all.”

Moral of the story: Only leaders with integrity will rule wisely.

Kouzes-Posner’s 1st Law of Leadership: If you do not believe the messenger, you will not believe the message.


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