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Southwest Airlines Community

Correspondence: Make Employees Feel Wanted

Not applicable

Aviation Week & Space Technology
06/23/2008 , page 10

Robert P. Mark
Evanston, Ill.

Tom Triola’s letter “Solution for Labor Shortage” (AW&ST June 9, p. 10) says performance should be a priority over demands for pay. But the need to urge local employees to take the pride in their work needed to produce the performance ignores one important element: leadership, or the lack of it.

People in the aviation industry will work hard if they think they are all headed in the same direction as their leaders. There is little evidence of anything resembling leadership in the airline industry or FAA; management possibly, but not leadership.

A Southwest Airlines employee offered an insight into why that airline is so successful. Southwest leaders don’t try to control every element of the airline’s operation. The company believes there is substantial value to empowering first-line employees to make decisions. And the company backs them up.