This past week has been a reminder of two things I’ve learned about leadership over the years: One we see (and watch for), and the other we hear (much to our surprise, hearing it loud and clear.)
Leadership is highly visible.
Silence from our Leaders is deafening.
Meanwhile, heads lean together and whisper or grumble, and everyone else has their own quiet conversations about what they see and hear. Assumptions run rampant, and usually, apprehension and fear will too.
When “stuff happens” and you, as an Alaka‘i Manager feel you need to speak up, and be a voice of reason, a voice of calm, and sometimes, a voice of questioning dissent, please do. That voice inside your head (or bubbling in your gut) is more than likely the voice of your Aloha Spirit, wanting clarity.
If you need that clarity, chances are that others around you need it as well. Articulating clarity, is a key responsibility of managers and leaders. As we have said before, great managers aren’t answer-givers as much as they’re answer-finders.
Ready yourself to Speak with Aloha: Better Managers are Better People.
Indeed, do take the time to think about it first, and pause to choose your words carefully, but not for too long.
Always remember this: Silence, and especially uncomfortable silence, begs to be filled. It can be amazing, how much that silence can carry within it as strain and millstone, a burden which seems invisible, but is heavily laden with grit and grime. You know what I mean. Silence becomes volatile and alarming.
You may trip up when you speak. You might stammer, stutter, stumble and have to self-correct a time or two; so be it, for all humans do. The important thing to remember, is if not you, then who?
Lead with Aloha in those voids that managers will find they are in: Those voids are the job you signed up for.
Alaka‘i Managers are those who are willing to themselves embody a kind of ‘sense of place’ where uncomfortable conversations can be safely held. Their people will expect those managers will lead them to the best possible outcome once the hard things which must be said, are said, are heard, are acknowledged and dealt with, and handled with Aloha.
Yes. At times like these, management is hard and it can be messy. However if you are the person who aspires to be an Alaka‘i Manager, one who conducts themselves with the distinctions of Ho‘ohanohano, Mālama and Aloha, people will be so happy you’re on their team to speak with, and for them, and listen to them as they speak.
Here is a reminder of what we previously outlined as MWA Conversation 101. You can revisit the detail for each point here: Conversational Catch-up ~ with Aloha.
1 — Converse daily. Come up for conversational air.
2 — If you can talk about it instead of writing about it, do.
3 — Did you listen? What did you hear?
4 — Seek an agreement in each and every conversation you have.
5 — Enjoy it. Relish conversations and never dread them.
This really is not difficult. Like so much in management however, you get better at it with practice and consistency. Speaking with Aloha is less about technique, more about feeling.
As Maya Angelou famously wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Get out there, and manage with your Aloha: I believe in you.
I must work my way through my messiness too. I have revised and cleaned up the essay I previously posted here called Our Values and the American Experiment: It is now on Medium if you would like to read it.
Related Reading in the Archives:
- Hana ‘eleau: Working in the Dark
- Kākou Communications and Our Tribe
- 1-Catch the Good, 2-Tell Them!
- Be the Best Boss
- The Acid Test of a Healthy Workplace Culture
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Our value immersion study for the months of November and December:
‘IMI OLA: We are meant to be Seekers.