Virtue of the Week: Leadership

I am more afraid of an army of one hundred sheep led by a lion than an army of one hundred lions led by a sheep.Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-PĂ©rigord
A leader is a dealer in hope.Napoleon Bonaparte


In Bangkok, Thailand there are many temples of Buddha …. but there is one temple that stands out above all the others. It is not the size of the temple that is so impressive; it is about the size of a two car garage. Rather the temple of the Golden Buddha is famous for what is inside: a solid gold statue of the Buddha that stands almost eleven feet high and weighs over two and half tons. The history of the statue is fascinating, and has a lesson for teams. In 1957 a certain monastery had to be relocated to make way for a highway. One of the many art objects in the monastery that had to be moved was the massive clay statue of the Buddha. When a crane lifted the clay statue it developed serious cracks. It turns out that underneath the clay was the Golden Buddha. Historians believe that it had been concealed for several hundred years prior to its discovery to keep an invading army from carrying it away as stolen treasure. The point is this: Teams are like that statue. There is gold inside every team member, even though that gold may be disguised by a layer of human clay. Our job as leaders when trying to create great teams, is to penetrate that layer of clay, uncover the gold, and reveal the value and worth that is at the core of every person making up the team. When team leaders can see the worth of each person and provide an enlarged vision for the value that person can bring to the team, teams accomplish more than they ever thought possible.


Every leader needs to look back once in a while to make sure he has followers.Author Unknown
There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

Look For the Gold Not for the Dirt.

At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today. A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.

The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to becomes so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?” Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt – one goes in looking for the gold.

That’s exactly the way we leaders need to view those who are entrusted to our care. Don’t look for the flaws, warts, and blemishes. Look for the gold, not for the dirt; the good, not the bad. Look for the positive aspects in each person in your organization. Like everything else, the more good qualities we look for in our people, the more good qualities we are going to find, and when we put all those little talents (specks of gold) together, we will find that we have a real treasure.