A few years ago, I met Rosa Say, when I was visiting the Big Island. She’s written an excellent guide for using aloha in business practices, focusing on management. The focus on management is purposeful — leadership is too general, she says.
In her blog, “Talking Story,” she comments that she loves managing, but has learned to like leading. Philosophically, she says: ” I really get annoyed with the assumption that leading is better than managing, for I don’t believe it is. Both are verbs, both are needed in business and in our world, and both can be accomplished by every manager under the sun — if they choose to do so within their Ho‘ohana. I don’t believe we’re born into either one, managing or leading. I believe we choose them, and while I’ve defined a way they go together well in an ‘Ohana in Businessculture, I do feel you can choose to do mostly one or mostly the other, managing and leading as a team effort with others.”
It’s true that we often make a distinction between management and leading, as if they are profoundly different. They’re not as black and white as we often assume. At the same time, not all managers are leaders (and not all leaders are managers)! And eventually, every manager faces a moment when leading is required.
Say writes: “You see there eventually gets to be a point of managing well, where to be great at it, you have to try leading. You have to get braver, and bigger, and more vocal. They seem to be times you’ve got to go out on a limb somehow, and take a chance your managing hasn’t yet proven. There’s a first time for everything, a time when there will be no past experience to look back on.
During those times, leading well is about all you can do, and leading truly seizes those starring roles. If you’re the appointed star, you’ve hopefully got enough managing well behind you in other performances and venues, so that others allow you to inspire them, and create new energy in that void of uncertainty. You’ve earned the right to be listened to, and they take a chance with you.
And let’s kick out that word ‘appointed’ in the last paragraph: Leading needs no title. It doesn’t require any positioning on an org chart: It responds to need.”
That’s the aloha! Responding to need, with the qualities that bring us together as ‘ohana (family).
Check out her excellent book, Managing With Aloha, to learn more!