Malama is to take care of, to serve and honor and protect and care for. When you want to know what drives your employees ask them about their Malama – what they are they caring for. Your path is an enlightened one for when along the way you are taking care of certain things. You serve them. You protect them. You honor them. And, in doing so you feel better and become better.
Malama can drive us to high performance levels, which take the form of unselfishness and accepting responsibility. It urges us to be the caretaker of our good health, for others, and for those who cannot care for themselves. Giving care is a human fundamental need. We all want to feel that someone else needs us. Malama adds the value of ultimate warmth to serving others, ho’okipa.
Employees trust more easily and become more trustworthy themselves when they feel their managers care about them. They appreciate the honesty even when the message is a hard one for them to hear. How employees are treated – trust, respect, dignity, intelligence, communication, and caring – carries must greater weight than standard tools of the trade.
Do you celebrate success and rewards significant events? Do you have practices for loss and grieving? Do you recognize the symptoms of stress and undue pressure? Give time when time is needed.
When you show Malama for others, don’t be surprised when they begin to show it toward you. Your employees will know you better than you imagined. When you truly need them, they will be there for you. They will give you space. They will give you understanding. They will give you obedience without questions. And, they will give you performance…their own kind of aloha.
CITE: MANAGING WITH ALOHA: Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business by Rosa Say