Servant Leadership: The Importance of the Spirit of Aloha

  • Published
  • By Chaplain Captain Sam Kin
  • 452 AMW Chaplain Corps

ALOHA is more than a Hawaiian greeting and acronym. The “H” in ALOHA is Ha‘aha‘a, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who despised someone’s humility. False humility though is another story. As for humility, when expressed with modesty, it can be exercised by all who choose to do so.

I had the opportunity to meet Robert A. McDonald, former Chief Executive Officer of Procter & Gamble, producer of brands such as Pampers, Gillette, Olay, Tide, etc., a multibillion-dollar company. Robert, who liked to go by Bob, was visiting my alma mater on a recruiting visit and I happened to be invited to the business school. I felt like a fish out of water because I was sitting in a business school classroom full of Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree students that were also formerly military academy graduates or military officers. Bob, who graduated thirteenth in his West Point class, separated from the Army as a major and surged up the ranks of P&G. Bob, sitting front and center, I imagined he was going to ask the MBA students why they were so awesome and pitch why they should come work for P&G. No. Bob blindsided me with these words: “How may I help you?” Bob exercised servant leadership with that question and shared a bit more on how that posture of leadership was practiced through his faith and understanding of God.

Servant leadership or the practice of ha‘aha‘a (humility) will make you more valuable to your organization. A posture of humility will posture your mind to learn, to follow, and to carefully lead—so let’s try to live the spirit of aloha.