I love leadership stories and especially parables. Such stories and parables often highlight and reinforce important leadership traits.
This leadership story/parable, like many of the stories I post on my blog, are great to share. They are a wonderful way to teach and train effective leadership.
The following parable highlights five things great leaders should always remember.
A long time ago a Pencil Maker was preparing to put an important pencil in a box. Before doing so though, he took the pencil aside.
He said, “There are five things you need to know. If you can remember these five things you will become the best pencil you can be.”
“First: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone else’s hand.”
“Second: Sharpening is painful, but it is critical if you want to become a better pencil.”
“Third: Because you have an eraser, you can correct most mistakes you make, though some may be harder to erase than others.”
“Fourth: You may or may not look all that great on the outside, but remember that it’s what’s inside that’s most important; in fact it’s your most important part”
“Fifth: Whatever surface you are used on, make sure you leave your mark. No matter how hard, rough or easy, you must continue to write.”
What can leaders learn through this Parable of the Pencil?
1. Be humble. Just like the pencil, you must often be carefully guided by someone else through coaches, mentors and people who care.
2. Stay sharp. Feedback is painful at times, but without it you will become dull. Constantly take the time to sharpen your skills through feedback, but also read as much as you can about leadership, attend workshops, observe and experience.
3. It’s okay to make mistakes. In the process of becoming a better leader you will make mistakes. Embrace the mistakes as opportunities to learn. Learn, erase and become better!
4. Believe in you. We all come in different shapes, sizes and colors – just like pencils. But it’s what is inside that matters the most. You can have an important impact on others by believing in who you are and what your purpose is.
5. Don’t give up. There will be times you will wonder if it is worth it, but people depend on you so keep on going. Hold to your vision even when it seems it has dimmed. Others are counting on you to take them where you are going.
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