Aloha: the word conjures up warm tropical breezes and spectacular sunsets. But just as Hawaii is more than sand and surf, so is the meaning of aloha. It’s far more than you think!
The natural beauty of the ‘aina (the land) and ke kai (the sea) in the Hawaiian Islands is legendary, but it’s the e komo mai (welcome) the good kama’aina (islanders) show to malahini (newcomers like me), that make these Islands of Aloha a wonderful place to live. In fact, if you’ve noticed a slow down in the number of posts since I arrived last July, just take a look at the photo below and ask yourself, “Would I be at the computer or would I be outside?” All kidding aside and the beauty of the Islands notwithstanding, the Spirit of Aloha is the primary reason we love Hawaii. It’s been my experience that good relationships can make any place a great place to live. In other words, leadership is like life: it’s all about the people.
One of our local authors, Rosa Say, has written a book and maintains a site dedicated to the Hawaiian approach to leading people called Managing With Aloha. It’s a Hawaiian spin on the classic leadership approach of meeting people where they are and respecting them as part of the team. Rosa Say does a great job of explaining the Hawaiian approach to life and then translating that into business principles anyone can use. In her 19 Values of Aloha, she uses the traditional Hawaiian values and words from the Hawaiian language to express how a workplace can operate with Aloha.
I think the values Ms Say describes connect nicely with my own Leading Leaders philosophy of Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Leaders Lead, and Little Things Matter. These values resonate, and also connect across cultural lines, because fundamentally leadership is about relationships, and helping others find value in their work and each other. I like her blog, and I’m looking forward to reading Rosa Say’s book.
In my own book, I touch on similar ideas. Even though I’ve developed my leadership principles primarily in military and sports environments, Leading Leaders principles are universal and can be applied to industry, non-profit, and government. Why? Because good leadership is fundamentally about human interaction, inspiring people to get a job done or overcome obstacles: from combat to craft fairs. Leadership is not a formula or process. There is no product to buy, shirt to wear, or pill to take that can substitute for good leadership, and good leadership requires strength of character from the leader. This is something I have in common with Ms Say: the belief in the power of ohana and relationships to move people toward goals.
A big mahalo (thank you) to Rosa Say for her contribution to helping leaders live pono, spread aloha and ohana, and add to the conversation about alaka’i in the business community!
Mickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.
Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.