5 Short Stories on Leadership

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a leader?

Leadership is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and improved upon.

In this post, you’ll read success and failure leadership stories that will give you an idea of what life is like as someone who leads others; and maybe by the end of this blog post, you’ll have found your new favorite story or two!

Hopefully, these stories will help you to better understand your own style of leading and what type of leader best suits you.

5 Leadership Stories

The Soldiers and The Trench

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There was a man on horseback who saw a group of exhausted soldiers digging a trench. On the side is their section leader who was barking orders.

The passerby asked the leader why he isn’t helping his team. The leader just said that he is in charge and tells his people what to do.

The man decided to pitch in and help the soldiers dig until the trench was finished. After that, he approached the commander on foot and told him that the next time their rank prevents them from supporting his men, he should notify the top command – and that he will give a permanent solution about it.

The section leader then realized that the person he was talking to was none other than General Washington.

Moral of the Story:

The best leaders are eager to help and give aid to their followers. In the context of work, this might mean reaching out to their employees to check in and doing actual work.

They also adopt a progressive mindset instead of being attached to being in charge.

The Phone Call

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One day, a manager was meeting privately with a staff member. The manager’s phone rang while they were discussing something important.

The manager ignored the call, not only once but thrice.

The staff member asked the manager if he wouldn’t take the call.

To that question, the manager only answered no because the phone call can wait while the issues they are discussing cannot.

Feeling valued, the two continued their conversation.

Moral of the Story:

When you meet with your people, don’t let push notifications, texts, or calls constantly distract you. If they see that these things are more important than them, they won’t trust you and bring issues to attention unless it’s urgent. This will make the team feel like their problems aren’t a priority so most of the time nothing gets solved until there is an issue worth solving.

The Belly and The Members

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One day during a meeting, some members of the Body realized that they were all doing the work while all the Belly does is get all the food. They all agreed that the Belly was the laziest and unproductive member of the body.

After their meeting, they all decided to hold another meeting to discuss how unfair it seems. At the end of the long meeting that night, all the members voted that they’ll go on strike until the Belly agrees to have a fair share of work.

The unhappy body parts remained idle for a few days, hoping to starve the Belly. After some time, they stopped walking, moving their hands, and finally gave up chewing altogether in an attempt to stop feeding the belly with food and water!

As a result of their strike, the entire Body eventually collapsed and died without understanding how important the role of the Belly was.

Moral of the Story:

A leader should learn how to recognize and appreciate each team member’s unique qualities as well as their shortcomings. After all, a good leader needs to make connections in the team so that everyone knows what they can bring to the table and why they are on it.

It’s Not my Problem

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Once upon a time, there was a queen who was eating rice cakes and honey with her chief advisor on her balcony. As they ate, a drop of honey landed on the balcony railing as the queen was pointing at something in the distance. The chief advisor asked if he should call a servant to clean it up but the queen only laughed and told him that it’s not her problem because it’s just a drop of honey and someone will come and clean it later.

They continued eating and chatting as the drip of honey began to slowly drip down and landed in the busy street below. The advisor once again called the attention of the queen and told her that the honey has now fallen into the street and is now attracting flies. He asked again if he should call for a servant. Just like the last time, the queen yawned and replied that a little drop of honey that is swarmed by a few flies is not her problem. She added that someone would deal with it later.

Soon after that, a lizard rushed out from underneath the palace wall and began to catch flies with its tongue. Then a cat sprang from a nearby bakery, ready for some fun! The two animals batted each other back and forth like toys until suddenly, an angry butcher’s dog came charging at them and began biting the cat’s neck. The advisor now reminded the queen that the flies attracted a lizard, which then attracted the cat who is now being attacked by a dog. Once again, the queen just stretched and shook her head. She told her advisor to relax and those silly fighting animals are not her problem.

When the baker saw the animals fighting, he saw that a dog is attacking his cat. He then ran out with his rolling pin and began hitting the dog. When the butcher heard his dog’s cry, he ran out with his broom and started hitting the baker. Soon after that, the butcher and baker started fighting each other while the other shopkeepers nearby taking sides and joining the fight. When the soldiers came along, some of them knew the butcher while some knew the baker. They too took sides and the battle just grew and grew in the streets.

The people began throwing rocks at the windows, tipping over carts, hurdling a torch through a window, and eventually, a fire raged and spread to the palace. The queen and the advisor were escorted out of the palace into the street below because the flames spread throughout the palace. Later that day when the fire had died out, they surveyed what remained of their land. Suddenly she stopped in front of where her balcony once stood and noticed a small puddle on the ground. She realized that it was honey and told herself that she should have cleaned it from the start. Now, all her kingdom was lost because of a drop of honey. From that day on, the queen never said “It’s not my problem!”

Moral of the Story:

Being a leader should have the right mindset and act accordingly whenever a situation arises. If they don’t, their followers may suffer just like in the example of the queen in the story. Learning to listen and consider what others are suggesting is one of the greatest skills that all leaders should possess. Moreover, caring for the people working with you is essential to effectively lead them towards greatness.

The Stone Soup Effect

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There was a wise, old man who lives his life traveling and meeting lots of different people. In his lifetime he’d seen so much that it gave him the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from each situation; all experiences are wonderful as they enrich him with wisdom.

One day, while walking through an unfamiliar village near the center, he met some new folks. He introduced himself and said that he was looking for a hot meal and a safe place to stay. The villagers humbly offered him a place to sleep however, due to having poor crops that year, they have very little food to feed the whole village. The old man was sorry to hear their woes and assured the folks that they don’t need to worry about the food because he is thinking of serving them with some stone soup. All he needed were three things: a large soup pot, wood for the fire, and some water.

The villagers were all confused at the traveler’s request. They haven’t heard of stone soup and wondered if you can cook stone and get soup from it. The old man told them that it’s the best soup he had ever tasted. They just need to bring him a pot and some water and he’d make some for all the village. The villagers did what he requested, when they returned with the items, the old man began preparing for the soup. He took out a small silk pouch and did a great ceremony. After that, he reached in, pulled out a smooth, round stone, and dropped it into the boiling water. The villagers anxiously watched as the old man cooked stirred the pot.

The traveler then asked for some cabbage and salted beef to add to the soup which the villagers willingly gave. When the old man noticed the villagers’ anticipation to taste the soup, he requested more vegetables to add to the soup such as onions, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms. When the pot was filled with vegetables and all kinds, the villagers realized that they have so much food to share with each other. Not only did they share vegetables and meat, but the baker also gave fresh bread and butter. When the old man finished the soup, he started giving it out to all the folks and shared a wonderful meal together. There was more than enough soup to feed the whole village and they said that it is the best soup they have ever tasted.

The mayor of the village then talked to the old man and offered to give him a great deal of money for the magic stone. The old man refused and told the mayor that it was his responsibility to make the soup without the stone but with just all the ingredients that they had earlier. He added that the mayor should find a way to get the villagers to work together just like what they did a while ago. If the mayor succeeds, he would give them the special stone.

The next morning, as the old man was preparing to leave the village, he passed by a group of children playing alongside the road. He called the youngest child and handed him a silk pouch with the stone. He then whispered to the child and told him that it was not the stone that did the magic, but all of them who helped each other.

Moral of the Story:

Not all people born in a community become leaders. It’s not about the position you hold, but how you inspire and interact with people that make an impact on your community. A true leader will find ways to gain attention and trust from his or her followers so they will be willing to help out just as much when there is a need for support within their communities.

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