There is an elephant in the room but nobody wants to talk about it. Do you know the feeling?
There are two types of cultures in our Montessori organizations: fearful and fearless. Which one is yours?
Research shows that fear is one of the most pervasive feelings at work. And I have seen that our Montessori organizations are no exception.
You may want things to change in your organization, but you do not speak up to say something. You have said it ten times before and nothing has changed. Or you simply know that your boss will decide about things herself anyway, so why bother? She thinks she knows best. And you are afraid that if you propose a solution and you make a mistake, you will be shamed.
In schools or Montessori organizations where people are afraid of making mistakes, being vulnerable or judged, where the leader always decides but does not acknowledge her own mistakes, does not practice reflection, or asks for feedback, resignation spreads quickly and people feel paralyzed.
That’s when we see conforming instead of speaking up, passivity, and disengagement. People stop collaborating and start talking behind each other’s backs. Fear, frustration, anxiety, and blame are everyday experiences. Silos form because the information is power.
On the contrary, in fearless organizations, team members make decisions and they are not afraid to make mistakes. When mistakes happen, there is no blaming or shaming. We share feedback, we reflect, we learn and move on together, celebrating our growth.
Communication is open, with no private channels. There is no “them” and “us”. People feel safe having hard conversations and communicating face to face, not in triangles.
In fearless organizations, the leader’s main work is to encourage independence, to connect people around a vision, to model values she wants to bring to the world, and last but not least, to serve her team so that her people can do the job. People in her organization are leaders themselves, they are autonomous and responsible, moving fast as Ferraris and moving smart without waiting for the leader’s approval.
In fearless organizations, there is an atmosphere of meaning, fulfillment, freedom, courage, authenticity, belonging, and joy every day. People get up in the morning, looking forward to doing their work.
Which culture is yours?
Download the “Address The Elephant in the Room ” template and use it to start talking about the things that no one wants to talk about. There is no better way to move forward than look the truth in the eye and tackle it face-on. It is not easy, but when you try, you will see the change you long for happen.
We Montessorians need to learn to build fearless organizations. We have work to do :).
Good luck on your fearless journey, and if I can help you with this work, DM me. We have a lot of practice with facing challenges head-on at Montessori Institute Prague.
PS: And, if you are interested in how to build fearless Montessori organizations, join us for the upcoming AMI Administrators Course where we talk about team culture and much more.