Golden Rule Management
I’m sure you know of The Golden Rule:
“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”
The Golden Rule is the inspiration for what we who manage with Aloha call “Golden Rule Management” and it goes like this:
“Do for, and do with others, as you would have them do for, and do with you.”
We discard “unto” purposefully, and not because it’s the language of ancient times. You see, we don’t think of managers as fixers—those who do things, even ‘good for them’ things, to other people. We think of managers as those who will work with others and for them, ‘with’ meaning within Aloha-centered partnership, and ‘for’ meaning in service to others, and in coaching support of their workplace responsibilities and contributions.
Throughout it all, we task Alaka‘i Managers—those with a calling for management who practice Managing with Aloha culture-building—with being Alaka‘i by modeling good behavior, whether that behavior is considered self-managing and self-leading, or teaching, coaching, and mentoring.
Modeling Performance Behavior
Modeling good behavior, behavior you want repeated throughout your organization, is as basic to culture-building as it gets: It is foundational to our Aloha Intentions (Key Concept 1), our Value Alignment (Key Concept 3), and our Language of We (Key Concept 5). It is foundational and it is essential.
[Review all 9 Key Concepts in Managing With Aloha Culture-Building here, and here.]
Remember: Culture is simply defined as a group of people who operate within the same set of values. Therefore, “culture building” is basically done through on-the-job common practice, and it is highly likely that ‘common practice’ requires an element of training, coaching, and mentoring. Culture is “the way we do things here” directed and taught through specific value alignment.
In the first part of my management career, I supervised, managed and led the ‘rank and file’—those we think of as employees and non-managerial staff. In the second part of my management career, I primarily supervised, managed and led other managers. I would also concentrate on peer-to-peer managerial, vendor-supplier, and networking partnerships much more intensively than I had before.
I would primarily remind myself of Golden Rule Management in two common circumstances then, and still do in my current career as a Workplace Culture Coach:
I. When encountering the employee attitude that “my manager should be able to do everything I’m able to do…if not, they have not earned the right to manage me.”
—In this instance, I know I’m tasked with changing that employee’s attitude expectation that his or her manager is out to do something to them, instead of working in partnership with them. We probably need to have a good talk about role and responsibility (Key Concept 4 and Kuleana), and our different levels of expertise and contribution, for it is not true that both employee and manager should be able to do the same things—in fact, it’s far better that they don’t!
II. When coaching performance and/or behavior issues with managers, leaders, executives and business owners.
—In this instance, will the person I am coaching, learn a good deal about Golden Rule Management in the process of receiving their own coaching? Will they learn about the worthwhile effort, and rewarding results, of ‘doing for, and doing with others, as you would have them do for, and do with you,’ in both of their roles as subordinate, yet boss to others? Will they gain more empathy, patience, and ‘compassion with tough love’ through the experience of being coached, so they can retreat the process with others?
Our 19 Aloha Values will guide and intersect with each of these scenarios in different ways, depending on the personal values of the employee or manager being coached. As general guidance, the five values I align with Golden Rule Management the most, are;
2. Ha‘aha‘a: Humility is needed in any uncomfortable situation which calls for new learning coupled with behavioral change—slices of humble pie must nourish both coach, and the person being coached.
3. Ho‘ohanohano: The value of good behavior, and professional conduct ‘with distinction.’
4. Mālama: Care, yes. Compassion and patience, yes. Most of all however, this is our value of stewardship, and managers are the stewards of healthy workplace culture.
5. Ka lā hiki ola: “The dawning of a new day.” This is the value of optimism, hope and promise. We are reminded that life affords us many different opportunities, and each coaching conversation is one of those opportunities. Let’s go forward, and put any uncomfortable, unproductive past behind us for good.
Adopt Golden Rule Management, and you will be reminded of these values, and “Be Alaka‘i” too.
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Preview the updates in Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, released Summer, 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business