Aloha Leadership: from the top of the mountain…

Mauna Kea sunset by Carol Burbank

From the summit of Mauna Kea, the sky becomes the landscape. The mountain once was the limit of our human imagination, crowned by stars. Now it is the ground from which we leap into the unknown, with aloha and a sense of adventure.
Leadership is a visionary act that transforms the landscape of a community. With aloha, attentive to the community’s needs and wants, the visionary leader is also a practical leader. Everyone has a role in a community — the visionary leader knows how to leap from the solidity of the land to dance in the air, through the paths of the clouds.
Her followers won’t necessarily leap into the clouds of vision – even breathing the rarified air of a mountaintop is a special gift —  but the story of a visionary journey inspires and teaches how to fly without leaving the earth. Followers, confident in their own roles, full of their own aloha with the community, can see where their work needs to expand to support and ground a leader’s vision.
With aloha, vision becomes practical because the visionary leader has learned discernment and humility. She has examined the vision, not just for exhilarating inspiration, but also for possible hows and whys, so that the story she shares has a reason and a purpose.
Martin Luther King said, “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” The visionary leader sees a wider vista, and sheds light on the possible, illuminating the source of shadow, the expansion of light.  In community, that light becomes collective action, with each community member taking his or her own leadership role in the process.
As a good friend of mine recently commented — “it takes a village to do everything, not just raise a child!” And every village needs a visionary leader, grounded in aloha.


  1. Beautiful sunset, beautiful idea!


  2. […] there’s nowhere to go but up, as long as we do the healing work, too. This is one quality of Aloha Leadership – taking responsibility and allowing relationships to heal while building bridges helps […]


  3. […] what happens when leaders stay in their offices, managing from a distance without aloha or emotional […]


  4. […] the line for the good of community. I write about this heartfelt, courageous form of leadership as aloha leadership, a committed, holistic practice of leadership that works with core values of integrity, […]


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