HOW SOUTHWEST AIRLINES SOARS
1. What leadership theories and concepts have contributed to Herb Kelleher’s success at Southwest?
Herb Kelleher is an outrageous, off-the-wall CEO that has built a unique organization and has been extremely successful in a very competitive market. Kelleher has an unorthodox style when compared to CEO's of other major corporations. This style is reflected in his organization's style.
Herb Kelleher's leadership style is the opposite of the many autocratic leaders that have thrived in business for centuries. He does not "rule" over his employees but rather, rules with his employees. Kelleher believes that leadership is the job of every ...view middle of the document...
Kelleher practices both of these behaviors daily. He develops a personal relationship with as many of Southwest's employees as possible. At the very least, he knows their name. He becomes more than just their boss, he becomes a friend. Also, in dealing with all decision making, Kelleher uses the information provided by his employees emphatically before making a decision. He feels that the employees actually dealing with the problem would have a much better idea of how to handle it than most upper management would.
Lastly, Kelleher can be described as being a charismatic leader. A charismatic leader inspires people to place the needs of their company as high as their personal needs and has an extraordinary effect on his/her followers. Charismatic leaders are extremely self-confident, have visions of the future and behave in extraordinary ways. Kelleher exemplifies these qualities. His self confidence shows in his ability to take chances in changing the face of the airline industry. His vision of the airline industry has become a reality over the last decade and will continue into the future. Lastly, his energetic and playful behavior has drawn people to love him.
2. Do you consider Kelleher to be a manager, a leader, or both? Why?
Kelleher was more than a leader. At Southwest Airlines, leadership is not considered to exist in one person, instead it is embedded in all employees. In traditional views of leadership, an emphasis was always put on an individual. Southwest Airlines does not have an individual leader. Kelleher states that he is no more a leader than anybody else in the organization. To accomplish what has been accomplished at Southwest Airlines, many leaders are needed in numerous different areas.
3. What should Southwest look for in a CEO to succeed Kelleher?
Southwest does not look for people who just consider themselves as professionals. Even though they want their employees to be businesslike, they are not looking for the typical stiff shirt, business suit type. People who are not afraid to...