Thursday, August 23, 2012

12. The Tao of Management - Obstruction

Obstruction - P'i

    Obstruction always exists in opposition to harmony.  Through obstruction the great goes and the small comes.  The manager's goal is to immediately effect balance.  Hiding embarrassment or just being unaware means that the manager does not know that there is obstruction or blockage in the organization.  In times of organizational or individual blockage, it is helpful and even necessary to go back and start over.  The manager reverses the role of events and restores tranquility.  The manager had better be aware of the path of events around him.  ~ Bob Messing

    The Montessori guide can be both manager of the classroom and at least an example of a manager for the staff and administration.  Thanks to Synchronicity, the acknowledgement and awareness of a co-worker I learned this today.

    We had a faculty meeting and we were going over our handbook.  The head of school expressed that in her opinion it was not okay for children to yell or scream while playing tag or anything of the like during recess because it is annoying.  I noted that I was confused as  to why it was not okay for them to do this, yet it is acceptable for younger children that are upset to go outside during class time and yell, scream or cry to their heart's content.  This rule was actually implemented by the school head and at the time said that this never actually happens or even happened.  I replied that while not often, it does happen and was actually implemented as a policy at least a couple of years ago.  While  the staff spoke up and said this was the case the school head went on with a metaphor.

"A given person may extend their arm and swing it around to the extent that it stays within the proximity that it does not hit another person."

   I saw that the obstruction was at the very least simply the school head's opinion which was not going to change.  I could have argued and even argued well until I was blue in the face.  Yet, I realized that because this was her opinion and the rule was being implemented based on that then because of this person's personality the school  head would not see the logic of any other opinion.  So I dropped it and we moved on.

  After the meeting, my co-worker complimented me on knowing when to just be and not react.  I thought about this and the quote from Bob Messing's book on obstruction.  The blockage here was the opinion and not the thought of freedom and expression of the elementary aged child especially for appropriate times and places.  I feel that by responding how I did it restored tranquility and kept the peace while also raising awareness for several staff members.

   A certain kind of peace comes from knowing when to push forward and knowing when to be still.  It does not mean that you do not experience frustration.  However, it does mean that you will not experience more by doing something else, like over engaging.


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