Leadership connections – Lao Tzu and Maria Montessori

Ever since reading the  email signature line of my 1st grade daughter’s Montessori teacher, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.    I have been desperately wanting and waiting to use it at work, but I had trouble with modifying it in a way that didn’t talk about my colleagues and coworkers as children.  This weekend, I was reminded of an even older quote by Lao Tzu.  Here are the quotes from two of the world’s greatest teachers of all times.

Thanks, Mrs. Shergill and John King for sharing these quotes and sparking my curiosity.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu

The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.” – Maria Montessori

I tried to simplify such greatness into my own haiku, but came up with the following two poems instead.

the roots of the tree

give strength, power, nourishment, life

hidden away they determine the greatness of the shade – of the protection

rarely seen, always there



lotus roots float beneath the murk and mire

hidden, floating yet digging deep within the soil

grand green glossy pads surface; dissipates

obscures the importance, providing sanctuary for all that lives below

waiting.  wondering.

emerges a strong, steady, ordered stalk.  straight and tall.

prickly, fibrous stiffness.  nothing more than a host.


beauty and perfection. blooms beyond belief.

significance beyond imagine. nothing beneath exists.

1 Comment

  1. The poems are nice.

Leave a Comment