Leading with Aloha

“E Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi (love one another).” In this episode, I share how my childhood in Hawai’i shaped my style of leadership and how I try to conduct myself professionally and personally. Let’s close out this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month strong…IMUA! #AAPIHM

As I progressed in my Air Force career, I always stated that I was from Hawai’i. Technically, I’ve lived in Arizona longer than Hawai’i (as my wife pointed out to me), but I still consider Hawai’i home. I also found that my upbringing influenced my personality and leadership style way more than I ever thought. I’ve learned tons of things from great leaders and teammates along the way, but the foundation is based on my childhood experience and my interactions with my family. The overall culture of Hawai’i is very strong to me. The spirit of Aloha and caring for one another shaped my leadership style in three distinct ways:

  • Respect for our past (Kanaka and Kupuna)
    • We often stand on the shoulders of giants, so seek out those stories and retain the parts that make sense to you.
    • Just because something happened in the past doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to keep on happening. The opposite works as well.
    • Maintaining traditions can help bring multiple generations together. Find those opportunities to make your team stronger.
  • Responsibility to educate/develop the younger generation (Keiki)
    • At some point, you will become “them.” Be sure to be a positive version for the younger generation to look up to.
    • Over the course of your career, realize the evolution of becoming a leader and coaching leaders. This is an important distinction to know how you can be the most effective for the team.
    • Pass on stories of your accomplishments and mistakes, because they are equally important in the spectrum of learning.
  • Treating each other with kindness (Aloha)
    • Enduring Culture, or the spirit of Aloha, can outlast any short-term Diversity/Equality/Inclusion efforts. People will know when you are forcing something to happen, so don’t fall into the trap.
    • Have consideration for your environment, as in this earth. We only have one of them, so please learn to treat it with respect.
    • Be thankful for your blessings and try to share them when possible.