In the early days of my management career I worked in the hotel business. This was a time when tourism wasn’t welcomed all that warmly by many residents in Hawai‘i, but that didn’t mean they stayed away from tourists completely; where the tourists were, the jobs were.
So I remember many a boss telling us younger managers that when we hired, we had to choose the candidates who “had the aloha spirit” for that meant they were sincerely warm and gracious, and would be that way with our hotel guests. Aloha was a marketable commodity; visitors knew about it, and were arriving in our islands expecting to find it. Therefore, we had to provide it, dishing it up like a meal chosen off their travel menu. We cooked it up by hiring it.
“The others” these bosses had warned us about, were locals who could stage the charade of aloha, with plastic smiles as fake as silk flower leis; locals who were seething inside knowing they were selling their souls day by day in serving visitors they really didn’t want to have around.
Take a look at that picture above, the memory of two visitors to Hawai‘i in 1985: Which of these two kinds of people do you think the young man was?
On any given day, he could have been both. In every given day, he has the possibility of both.
Today I know better than those early bosses of mine. Everyone has aloha. Everyone.
Managers don’t “hire” aloha, they create a work environment where the aloha which innately resides in every single human being feels like coming out to play. Then, it is the real deal, and it is genuinely shared.
Happy breeds happy.
Can’t blame managers for everything though. We each choose how happy we want to be each day; sometimes we’re the ones with the cap on our aloha, keeping it bottled up inside and not letting it see the light of day. Why would you want to do that, when to celebrate aloha is to celebrate who you are?
Take it from me: You’ve got it, so flaunt it. Choose it. Let your aloha come out and play with the rest of us, won’t you?