Preview: Much good comes from the responsibility you accept, and decide to take ownership of. There is, however, a trap to be aware of as well.
The Hawaiian Value of Responsibility
Responsibility’s Kuleana Keepers
When writing Managing with Aloha’s chapter on Kuleana, my focus was on the workplace gemstones we commonly associate with responsibility as a desirable.
Initiative. Involvement. Engagement. Ownership. The always revered and admired Accountability, and our current immersion, Motivation: Motivation is Kuleana’s Inside Job.
In my more recent coaching experiences, there is another facet of responsibility which rears its head, and this one is definitely not a ‘gemstone.’ It’s the danger of entrapment.
I speak from personal experience as well; as the eldest of five children, “eldest child syndrome” did not just occur naturally with me; my parents deliberately trained it into me. So much so, that the freedoms I associated with flying the nest at 18, all had to do with a very eager shedding of responsibility—and any of the familial guilt that went with it.
Work, and the healthy shaping of workplace culture, helped me reframe responsibility with the desirability of Kuleana, including the knowledge of how the delegation you share can be a gift for others.
Here are two Kuleana Keepers—keep them in mind;
1. To accept responsibility for something, including ownership of it, does not mean you go it alone.
We tend to think of responsibility as an all or nothing kind of thing, yet that often should not be the case, especially in a well-functioning workplace. Accepting personal responsibility is often step one; sharing it in a win-win manner with others is step two.
2. The Kuleana of good responsibility will fill you with energy and will help you grow; it should not drain your energy, slow you in an unreasonable way, or shackle you.
The responsibility you accept need not be a forever affair; there is nothing wrong with giving it a time limit, invoking the healthy discipline of a reasonable deadline. Second, define areas of responsibility better; give them reasonable boundaries and challenging constraints.
What can you do?
For 1: Share your Kuleana
Pair Kuleana with the values of Lōkahi (Chapter 8) and Kākou (Chapter 9). Coaching us in collaboration and cooperation, Lōkahi is often referred to as the value of teamwork; Kākou is the Hawaiian value of inclusiveness—It means “all of us” and “we are in this together.”
For 2: Constrain your Kuleana
Seek to connect workplace responsibility with culture-building, to shift it from too personal to more professional. To do so, it may help to give yourself a few self-imposed rules in the context of the responsibility you are working within. Review what that means here: Sunday Mālama: Debrief to Recharge your Aloha Spirit.
Related Reading on Kuleana:
- Motivation is Kuleana’s Inside Job
- Your Responsibilities: Kuleana Joy or Clutter?
- Managers Make Promises They Can Keep
- Life’s 3 Stops in Motivation: Happiness, Meaning, Service
We Ho‘ohana Kākou,
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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