The Stone Soup Effect

The 21st century leader must have the ability to make the most out of every situation. They are courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries to make things better. Because of these qualities and many others, the best leaders know how to get the most out of people; they enable the full potential in others.

An employee’s success, the lens they see through, the decisions they make and how they navigate their careers are all heavily influenced by the types of leaders they are able to observe and learn from. This is why you will find that many of today’s best leaders were mentored by great leaders themselves. Success as a leader is a by-product of the leaders and mentors we associate with throughout our careers.

You know that you found the right leader for your career when they are eager to take an active interest in your growth and success. If your leader doesn’t show interest, this may be an early warning sign that they are the wrong leader for you. So ask yourself, does your leader push you to see the full potential in yourself?

I am reminded of a lovely story named The Stone Soup Effect

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.

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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