Relevance of the Montessori Method for Organisational Leadership
Are you aware that many remarkably successful business leaders in today’s world are products of Montessori schools? Yes, that is true and here are just a few of them:
Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon). Larry Page (Co-founder of Google)
Sergey Brin (Co-founder of Google). Jimmy Wales (Founder of Wikipedia)
Peter Drucker (Modern Management Guru). Katharine Graham (Owner and Editor of The Washington Post).
It’s no wonder that much of the approach to organisational management learnt by these phenomenally successful people is rooted in the principles of the Montessori Method.
Maria Montessori developed a method of education that enables children to learn and grow independently through practical learning and collaborative play. The Montessori Method observes children and understands them just as they are and not as adults expect them to be. This enables children to learn in the best and simplest way: by doing things themselves.
Amazingly, the five principles of the Montessori Method are key to the concepts in organisational leadership, which continue to be vital and relevant to today’s working environment.
Join me to explore briefly how these five principles of the Montessori Method can be implemented into your organisation to the benefit of everyone.
Respect is the cornerstone of the Montessori Method and frames everything that is done in the Montessori environment.
For the employees of any organisation to feel valuable and develop their leadership skills, they need to work in an environment of respect. When they experience respect from their managers and colleagues, they, in turn, will give the same respect to their employers and colleagues. This goes to develop an organisational culture where employees are valued and their expertise is recognised. This culture reflects sharply in the organisation’s success.
2) Absorbent mind
The Montessori Method teaches us that the human brain acts like a sponge and we were all born to learn, both individually and collaboratively.
Organisations are places where people constantly grow their ability to create the results they desire, cultivate change and new thinking patterns; focus on collective goals and results; and continuously learn together.
Good organisational leaders, therefore, must develop the “learning sponges” that the Montessori Method teaches. Our organisations must become learning environments that foster continuous personal and professional development. These learning sponges will produce spiral growth for both the employees and the management.
3) Sensitivity to timed learning
The Montessori Method imposes a crucial responsibility on teachers to be attentive to the individual needs of the children and to choose the right timing for new learning. In organisations, timing is also a key element in decision making.
Organisational leaders must pay attention to the strengths and desires of their employees and note the external and internal signs that indicate when an employee is ripe for the next professional step. This will, without doubt, grow the organisation and the people working in it.
4) Availability of an experiential environment
In the Montessori classroom, materials and experiences are always available to children to develop curiosity and autonomous learning.
In organisations as well, it is important to allow employees the freedom to experiment with materials, technologies and methodologies. They will make mistakes and that’s alright as mistakes are a part of learning. This freedom of trial and error enables employees to work together, brainstorm together, inspire one another and combine their strengths to develop new products and services. When this is done, new leaders would invariably spring up in the organisation who will happily and effectively contribute to the growth of the organisation.
5) Self-learning methodologies
The Montessori Method ensures that children are self-taught. Their brain structure allows them to absorb impressions from their environment and learn them effortlessly and unconsciously in their own way.
Organisational leaders should manage their talents (workforce) in the same manner. Each of us learns differently. Some of us learn through reading, some through training and some through practical experience. In whichever way we learn, we are still learning on our own.
Organisational leaders who understand this give their employees the opportunity to develop in their own way. They then document the learning successes and leverage them into customised methodologies to the benefits of both the organisation and the employees.
In conclusion, it is obvious from the above discourse that a good knowledge of the Montessori Method of Education will help in creating a responsive organisation that is truly successful for the owners and the workers irrespective of whichever industry you work in.
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