Leadership story by Longa Dressler
In a monastery there was a humble disciple called Chiing, who trained, worked and meditated hard. After a few years the master saw how respected his student was by everyone and how much he believed in God. So the master told Chiing that he was in charge of organizing the other disciples and should guide them when they had little problems or questions.
Everything worked out fine. If Chiing was not sure what to do, he would ask the master, would listen carefully and tried out what he had learned.
But then a new disciple was accepted in the monastery. Marut was the son of a rich home and spoiled, without working experience or respect for others. But the master put Marut immediately in charge of the organization and of the other disciples.
Chiing should work from now on in the kitchen and prepare the meals. Although unhappy and sad he accepted the master’s decision. But all the other disciples did not stop asking Chiing about his opinion or for advice, and even if he told them to go to Marut they came back, because Marut was unfriendly and was unable to organize the daily work.
And Chiing could not stop supporting the students, he always had a good idea or a comforting word for anyone who was overwhelmed or sad.
Marut was jealous and told Chiing to leave everyone alone and mind his own business and to stop interfering in Marut’s decisions. Now Chiing was no longer just sad, he was even angry.
“Why would the master give the responsibility to someone so spoiled and weak like Marut?”
thought Chiing. He tried to hide his feelings, but the master was a wise man and always knew what was going on in his student’s minds and hearts.So he went to Chiing and talked to him:
“Chiing, I wanted to teach both of you a lesson. I know you think my decision was illogical and maybe even dangerous for the monastery’s daily work. But hear me out. If someone is a leader like you, they would not need a position or a status, they would lead anyway and people would feel that and accept that. If someone is not a leader, they need a position or a role for that, so that people could perhaps accept that and the beginner could try to learn to be a leader. But a position will not help on a long run, if the person is not willing to learn.”
Chiing understood immediately that the master was right and he offered to help Marut to find his role. But the master smiled and said:
“You are a real leader and proved it now by your offer, and you have understood why I let you learn this lesson. Now it is up to Marut to learn his lesson, firstly to accept that he is not a leader yet, and that no position and rank will change that. And that a real leader would not wait until people force help onto them, but would ask for help.”
Chiing understood, that this could take a while, but from now on he was able to work again without doubt and anger.