There are managers, and then there are great managers.
The great ones, are those we call Alaka‘i Managers in Managing with Aloha: They manage because they have a calling to do so, and that calling is to elevate the human condition, particularly in that sphere of influence we call the workplace. That is where they choose to lead as well, Leading with Aloha.
It is extremely exciting to see those lights of recognition and renewal go on in managers’ eyes when they realize that the hard work of management can evolve into the gift of a calling in their lives. Catching glimpse of those mālamalama lights is one of the best things I experience in my work as a coach.
Answer these vitally important questions for me:
What is your intention as an Alaka‘i Manager? Did you choose to be a manager, or did you just find your way to being one?
Whatever the history of your journey, do you love being a manager today? If not, why do you persist in being one?
I believe you can love it, as I do. You can thrive in the good health of your work, for it is good work! This place you have come to, Managing with Aloha, is where we work on that together.
Working within belief is a good place to be
You can’t be an Alaka‘i Manager striving for greatness if you do not intentionally choose to be one, and then make a passionate commitment to management consciously and with full on-purpose determination. To say. “I may as well make the best of it while I’m doing it” just doesn’t cut it.
To get started with Managing with Aloha as a management style you adopt, you must be able to honestly say being a manager is your deliberate choice, and that your passion lies in the joys which come from being a great manager: “Good” is not good enough, for as a manager you directly affect the quality of people’s lives. That is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.
I know that both will command your attention, but you must focus on people first, system and process second. People can fix broken processes. Processes cannot fix broken-in-spirit people. Break the spirit of your managers, and you fall even farther behind.
What that means, is that you must take stock of where your own convictions are, in regard to those critically important beliefs about the people you will work with, manage and lead. People will factor into just about everything you do; everything.
And know this: When it comes to your own learning and growth, people are the ones who will teach you the most. They are completely worth placing your belief in them.
What do the truly great managers of our world believe in?
In my experience working with them, and celebrating the amazing things they have fostered and achieved in their noblest work, these ten beliefs are those commonly held by those who are Alaka‘i Managers (Alaka‘i is the Hawaiian value of leadership).
The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
Great Managers do not stray from working within a set of beliefs that are extremely strong convictions for them:
1. Great managers believe that people are innately good — they must. Without this core belief and faith in people, great management is not possible.
2. Great managers believe they do not work ON or FOR their people, they work WITH them as peers; they enable and empower them.
3. Great managers believe that empowerment comes from within, and has more to do with self-motivation and innate talent than with obedience or the acceptance of authority. They get their cues from the person, not from the task or process.
4. Great managers believe that all people have strengths which can be made stronger, and that their weaknesses can be compensated for, so those weaknesses become unimportant to the work at hand, while strengths celebrate it.
5. So when it comes to training, great managers champion the striving in others. They do not believe they train people per se, they believe they train skills mastery and offer the additional knowledge which inspires.
6. Great managers are the stewards of working culture. They believe they coach and mentor people as their best contribution to a workplace, a community, and any sense of place, and they love doing so — not like, LOVE.
7. Great managers believe the people they manage are more than capable of creating a better future, and will when given that chance. They hold great faith and trust in the four-fold human capacities of physical ability, intellect, emotion, and spirit.
8. Great managers believe in the power of positive, affirmative thinking, and they have a low tolerance for negativity. They are confident, consistent, and eternal ambassadors of HOPE.
9. Great managers believe it’s their job to remove barriers, obstacles, and excuses, so people can attain the level of greatness they are destined for. They believe that “I can’t” is a temporary state of affairs, and they’ll be intent on flushing out the “won’t” within that “can’t.”
10. Great managers believe that their own legacy will be in the other people they have helped achieve worthwhile and meaningful goals. They believe their personal success is measured in those people who thrive and prosper within their care.
These beliefs may not be universally shared, but they are essential for Alaka‘i Managers as the people who make a difference in the lives of others. These beliefs are the reasons why managers matter, and why management is vitally important. These are the challenges you must be eager to tackle, as in, “Let me at ‘em, I’m perfect for this job!” eager.
If you do not share these beliefs, management will be possible by some standards, though not those of Managing with Aloha. However my managing and coaching experiences have both consistently demonstrated how it will prove to be much harder for you. Management will become the work of routine task and process, devoid of those rewards which stem from relationship-building and developing collaborative partnerships, and you deserve better than that. We all do.
So what, pray tell, will you choose?
If you are new to Managing with Aloha, this is a good Resource Page to read next: About the 9 Key Concepts.
Can you enroll in the Managing with Aloha movement if you aren’t a manager? Absolutely! What if I’m not a manager?