Priest With a Pot of Gold

We use stories to break down obstacles to learning…..

The stories that we have used in this series are meant to teach us that we are ultimately responsible for our actions and ourselves. We have to take responsibility for our decisions as well as our miscalculations.
We are told that we must exceed our limitations. But in order to exceed your limitations you must first know what your limitations are.
These stories will help us become more aware of ourselves – our strengths and weaknesses, our values and beliefs, our actions and reactions – because once you become aware of something you can learn to manage it better.

Leadership competencies are leadership & management skills and behaviours that contribute to superior performance. By using a competency-based approach to leadership, organisations can better identify and develop their next generation of leaders. While some leadership competencies are essential to all firms, an organisation should also define what leadership attributes are distinctive to the particular organisation to create competitive advantage. However, skills needed for a particular position may change depending on the specific leadership level in the organisation. By using a competency approach, organisations can determine what positions at which levels require specific competencies. Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that lead to successful performance.

The following stories look at some of the leadership and management competencies (“The Value-Added Employee,” by Edward J. Cripe and Richard S. Mansfield, Copyright 2002 by Workitect Inc) that are necessary in today’s modern and successful organisation.

Once upon time there lived a priest who had a big pot of gold coins. He had collected all this gold over many many years one little coin at a time and he guarded it very very carefully. Now there was a thief who lived in the same town who wanted to steal this pot of gold but knowing how carefully the priest guarded the gold he decided that the best way to lay his hands on it would be to become his disciple. Once he had gained the trust of the priest there would be no difficulty – the priest was bound to leave the pot sitting unattended sometime. It would be as easy as pie. All the thief had to do was bide his time.
But he was wrong. Not only did the priest never leave the pot unguarded – ever – but also he would not let his new disciple into the house. He had to eat and sleep outside. The thief was beginning to lose hope but as they say all good things come to those who wait.
One day the priest had to travel the next town. Naturally he took the pot of gold along and as was his habit he carried it himself while the thief walked quietly by his side. But it was a long journey and eventually the priest needed to go behind the bushes to relieve himself. He handed the pot to the thief and said ‘stay right there and I shall be back in a moment’. By the time he came out from behind the bushes the thief was long gone.

Pot full of golden coins

Let’s first look at the priest and then the thief’s management competencies.

Competencies Dealing with Business- The Priest

The Preventing and Solving Problems Cluster

The Priest works very hard at Forward Thinking: The ability to anticipate the implications and consequences of situations and take appropriate action to be prepared for possible contingencies.

  • Anticipates possible problems and develops contingency plans in advance.
  • Notices trends in the industry or marketplace and develops plans to prepare for opportunities or problems.
  • Anticipates the consequences of situations and plans accordingly.
  • Anticipates how individuals and groups will react to situations and information and plans accordingly.

He is also excellent at Conceptual Thinking: The ability to find effective solutions by taking a holistic, abstract, or theoretical perspective.

  • Notices similarities between different and apparently unrelated situations.
  • Quickly identifies the central or underlying issues in a complex situation.
  • Creates a graphic diagram showing a systems view of a situation.
  • Develops analogies or metaphors to explain a situation.
  • Applies a theoretical framework to understand a specific situation.


But unluckily for him the thief is proficient in Self-Management Competencies

Self Confidence: Faith in one’s own ideas and capability to be successful; willingness to take an independent position in the face of opposition.

  • Is confident of own ability to accomplish goals.
  • Presents self crisply and impressively.
  • Is willing to speak up to the right person or group at the right time, when he/she disagrees with a decision or strategy.
  • Approaches challenging tasks with a “can-do” attitude.

We are ultimately responsible for our own miscalculations.

As human beings we always tend to find a scapegoat for anything that goes wrong. And it’s easy because there is always a scapegoat available. But if we consider that every action has its own set of consequences then we must look at our own actions and how they could have impacted the outcome.

And if we can understand our own responsibility we can understand how to change our actions for the next time. 


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