The Most Important Characteristic of a Leader


A queen with no children decided to hold a competition to determine who would take her place when she died.

She summoned all the children in the city to her palace and gave each one a seed. “Plant this seed, care for it, and in one year bring back the flower that grows from it. Whoever brings me the most beautiful flower will be the next queen.”

One young girl planted her seed in a pot and watered it every day, but nothing grew. At the end of the year she was devastated, but on the day set for inspection of the flowers she picked up her pot and carried it to the palace.

All the other children brought colorful, vibrant flowers, but the queen only glanced at them.

She walked straight to the young girl and smiled. “All the seeds I gave you had been boiled and were dead. Only you were honest enough to bring back the original seed I gave you. You will be a just and wise empress.”

Moral of the story: Tell the truth, even when it seems easier not to.

Also published on Medium.

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