My title is an adage adapted from a quote that’s been attributed to Buddha and the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism: “When the disciple is ready, the master will appear.”
I prefer the original quote as tone and challenge for the workplace managed with ALOHA: It’s tone for a potential partnership which is powerful in its revelations of passionate desire, innate strength and emerging character. Beyond mere learning curiosity, and as powerful that curiosity may be, the student must have the desire of the disciple — a follower of a leader in a philosophy. The teacher must have the expertise of a master, or of a leader who desires that expertise. That master is intentional student himself, and now applies his progressively learned lessons to his (or her) daily HO‘OHANA.
Another wise adage advises, “Whatever it is you want to do, find the person who does it best. Then see if they will teach you.”
When we deliberately choose to work for someone, we choose them by reputation — by merit of their good example relevant to our world view of desired vocational possibility. We choose them for their leadership — we perceive forward movement in their work; they don’t stand still; they’re progressive and demonstrate dynamic momentum. And we choose them for their mastery — we recognize their strength and their presence as the results of comprehensive knowledge or skill, and it’s a demeanor of mastery we aspire to as well. So we ask ourselves, who better to be with, and learn from?
That, dear Alaka‘i Managers, is the expectation I ask you to assume everyone who works for you, and with you, has of you: The HO‘OHANA presence of a master, and the giving generosity of a teacher. When you are a manager, you are charged with developing your people, and supporting them in their work. To be “the person who does it best” yourself is not enough.
Assume that your people deliberately chose to work for you, even if they didn’t, for that assumption will become your expectation of yourself: You’ll elevate your efforts, and work toward being master and teacher for them.
From Managing with Aloha (Chapter 11 preamble):
‘Ike loa is the value of learning.
Seek knowledge, for new knowledge is the food for mind, heart and soul.
Learning inspires us, and with ‘Ike loa we constantly give birth to new creative possibilities.
‘Ike loa promotes learning in the ‘Ohana; we must incorporate the seeking of knowledge and wisdom into our business plan and into our daily practice.
‘Ike loa is to know well, and knowing others well enhances our relationships and broadens our prospects.
‘Ike loa. Pursue wisdom. Learn and know well.
‘IKE LOA (more here) is a value I ask Alaka‘i Managers to adopt whatever and wherever their workplace, so that together, we can all contribute to the omnipresence learning should attain. I believe that lifelong learning is essential in the life of ALOHA because it is spark to the PALENA ‘OLE fuse of unlimited human capacity:
Key 9. PALENA ‘OLE:
Palena ‘ole is the Hawaiian concept of unlimited capacity. This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy” and “Abundance” and welcome the coaching of PONO into your life as the value it is. We create our abundance by honoring human capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. When we seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, any scarcity will be banished. Growth is welcomed and change is never feared; enthusiasm flourishes. PALENA ‘OLE is an everyday attitude in an ‘Ohana in Business, assuming that growth and abundance is always present as an opportunity. Given voice, Palena ‘ole sounds like this: “Don’t limit yourself! Why settle for ‘either/or’ when we can go for the ‘and’ and be better?”
Read more: The 9 Key Concepts of Managing with Aloha
If you are a manager, and you are not teaching, you squander a magnificent opportunity. I would take it even further, and suggest that you are disrespecting the potential of your people, for I charge you with making their progressive learning possible as the culture-builder you’re supposed to be. They need your support in their present and future learning.
So I ask you, teacher and master, what is your current workplace curriculum?
Your answer should be immediate, it should be detailed with the mastery you now possess, and it should reek of your passion.
If you aren’t teaching, your people aren’t learning.
Well, I take that back. We humans just can’t help but learn; it’s how we’re wired to survive. If you aren’t teaching, your people just aren’t learning from you, so other teachers appear in their lives.
Is that what you want? Don’t leave it to random and unpredictable chance.
It may be that you recognize others who are better equipped to teach than you are, and you want to offer them as additional mentors: If so, be a connector, and host those arrangements between master and student. Support master as partner within your own curriculum, and encourage your students kukupa‘u. Know that their lessons-learned will be applied, as they should be, in your workplace culture.
As for the connection between disciple and teacher, where workplace philosophy is discussed within your culture’s Language of Intention (MWA Key 5), that relationship better be reserved for you, and you best make those conversations happen (See number 4 in this article: All Conversations Are Not Created Equal)
Be the Alaka‘i Manager you can be. I believe in you, and so will your people. Don’t let them down, for chances are, you can teach way more than you are, and way more than you think you can. So do.
Archive Aloha with Related Reading:
- The philosophy of Managing with Aloha
- Ethos of the MWA Student: Be true to your values
- People Who Do Good Work and This, is what Ho‘ohana sounds like
- The 9 Key Concepts of MWA: Why these 9?
- Managing: Let’s talk about the Basics and “I’m a manager.”
For more reading paths, go to New Here? or click on the tags found in the footer.