Leading with Aloha
This past weekend I learned that someone who had an impact on my development over the last 10+ years had a stroke and her prognosis doesn’t look good. It made me pause and give thanks for her example of strong leadership and also for many others who have been Alaka`i for me.
According to Rosa Say’s book, Managing with Aloha, “Alaka‘i is the Hawaiian value of leadership, and it is a quality desired both in managing and leading. It includes coaching, guiding and mentoring others to support their growth and self-development. Those who are Alaka‘i lead with caring for others. Courage and initiative are important, yet secondary.”
This is one of the reasons that more than 15 years ago I decided that I would name my business, Alaka`i Associates, with the vision that in some way I could be a guide for others to support their growth and development.
As I started to reflect on all the alaka`i that have guided me I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize their impact on my life. The first recollection of someone who truly guided me by his example was my paternal grandfather. He was an insurance broker and banker in a very rural mid-Western town who was generous with his time and resources to help others.
The next person I really consider a true mentor was my ninth grade English teacher who has remained a close friend for more than 50 years. One of the ways she captured my attention was how she acknowledged each of us, at 14 years old, for the potential we had as adults. I also watched her over the years overcome obstacles and remain true to herself.
The third person in my Alaka`i roundtable was a manager I had while working at Gap. He and I became very close friends because of our shared interest in organizational management and communications. We could get lost in deep discussions for hours and again that mutual coaching and guiding turned into a great friendship. I give him credit for helping me decide on the Alaka`i name for my business.
Then there is the woman mentioned at the beginning of this blog. She had a hand in coaching me into the non-profit organization I am currently working for, and her strong leadership and network were an example of a woman who had recognized her personal power. There was another woman in this organization who became my supervisor, mentor, and friend. Her strength was her compassionate style of leadership and helping me to recognize my strengths.
Finally, there are my “sisters”, some whom I have known since grade school, intermediate school, or young adulthood. We have grown together over the years, sometimes from long distances apart, but they each have qualities that make me consider them alaka`i as well.
I hope that if any of these alaka`i read this blog they will know who they are without me naming them. I love them all.
Mahalo nui loa!
Until next time…