“The Faith of Leadership” by Robbie Alm

The Faith of Leadership

Work harder than anyone else. Live right in your relationships with others. Accept that some success is luck. Robbie Alm, former First Hawaiian Bank and Hawaiian Electric executive, and president of the Collaborative Leaders Network, takes these three work principles seriously. They are the foundation of a great leader.

In “The Faith of Leadership: Insights from Hawaii’s Leaders” (2014), Alm discusses eight essential aspects of leadership that he has experienced throughout his career and observed in great leaders. With a conversational tone and encouraging words, he shares anecdotes and best practices of leaders who have made a positive impact on their organizations and in the lives of others.

Eight qualities of a great leader:

  1. Listen respectfully. Great listening is a deliberate and conscious physical and mental activity. Make others feel as comfortable and possible (such as meeting at their desk/office, removing physical barriers, and giving them your complete attention). Leave your desk and talk to people you wouldn’t usually meet.
  2. Be humble. Quietly do small jobs, give credit freely, admit your mistakes, and take responsibility. Follow quarterback Tom Brady’s lead when he said, “I could have done better.”
  3. Work with resistance to change. Leaders need to reduce the level of anxiety that goes with change and communicate clearly the benefits and expectations of change.
  4. Enlist employees to make a change. Listen to long-term staff. Let them know you value their views and that you ultimately accept responsibility for risks.
  5. Keep your perspective. Respect other people’s perspectives and ask where they think they could improve – personally or in the department.
  6. Encourage independent voices. Surround yourself with independent voices and different perspectives. Bring in people outside your industry or appoint a “10th man” (someone who advocates for the opposite position).
  7. Integrity – walk the talk. Integrity is a lifestyle; it is right behavior whether or not anyone is watching.
  8. Live Aloha. Do things that better your community. Commit to Live Aloha, a community action program created in 1993 that shows how small actions can have a big impact.

How can we Live Aloha? Alm offers 12 small things that we can all do: 1) Hold the door, hold the elevator. 2) Pick up litter. 3) Respect your elders and children. 4) Drive with courtesy. 5) Plant something. 6) Create smiles. 7) Get out and enjoy nature. 8) Attend an event of another culture. 9) Share with your neighbors. 10) Return your shopping carts. 11) Make a list of your own. 12) Leave places better than you find them.

Alm concludes with reminders that leadership is hard and not for everyone. What you do may be overlooked, ignored, or forgotten, and you may not see the result of what you do. But you have to believe that you are doing the right thing and that what you do will make a difference.

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3 Comments on ““The Faith of Leadership” by Robbie Alm”

  1. MF Says:

    This must be a joke! Robert Alm and Steven Alm have exploited and promoted corruption in Hawaii and now that! what is he trying to do, buying a clean conscience? These people are not leaders but bullies and criminals. Faith is specifically what they have deprived all their victims from!


    • Hi MF, Thank you for your comment and background about author Robert Alm. To be honest, I hesitated before approving your comment, because I try to be positive on this blog. I value your honesty. I also believe that people can change and that everyone has something they can teach others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. aloha, Rachelle

      • MF Says:

        Hello Rachelle: Thank you for your open minded response and allowing objectivity. I have a record of a lawyer referring to Steven Alm telling him as judge “it is illegal but if you do not complain I will do it” as well as mentioning “Steven Alm got his position in DC through his brother’s connections.” I doubt any of this is in the book. Their ALOHA is “Arrangements Lies On-the-take Harm Abuse”. Mahalo


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