Employees or Business Partners?

What are your employees to you?

In Sunday’s post I’d promised this Hana hou (follow-up):

This “work is personal” mana‘o (attitude) is not a one-way street in an organization managed and run with aloha. Employees have responsibilities that are professional and personal too, and they work best when they consider themselves partners in your business.

In other words, savvy business leaders get everyone to have a vested interest in the success of their business. Savvy business leaders work Kākou, inclusively, encouraging staff to work on the business they share, not just in it.

When your staff feels they are your business partners, they act that way; they rise to the expectation with an eagerness that may surprise you. Their professionalism rises to the top like the cream in butter, because you have made them feel like it is their rightful place.

We won’t go into the operational details of this (at least not right now); we’ll start at the beginning. For employees to consider themselves a certain way, the owner and visionary of that business must think that way first.

You can’t fake this; you have to genuinely believe in it. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. I have found that the successful business owners are those who consider their staff to be their partners: they know them, they trust them and they count on them. These things have been made possible by the vision and values they share. For remember, your values drive your behavior.

I chose the word partners deliberately: in a successful business, all employees are treated as your business partners. They are treated as the stake-holders they are.

This is the epigraph you’ll find across the dedication page of Managing with Aloha:

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I chose Goethe’s quote because I feel that this is what great managers who choose to manage with aloha do. They accept the responsibility they have to engage with their staff in a way that creates business-based partnerships. They take immense pleasure in seeing the involvement of those they manage grow. They count their successes by counting the number of people who have “become what they are capable of being.”

If you share these beliefs, you believe in your people: The Calling of Management: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers.


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