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Developing Southwest Airlines Operational Leaders

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Southwest Airlines’ Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP) is opening its doors to high potential Leaders, with a drive to work in Southwest Operations.  ELDP is an 18-month job rotational program consisting of on-the-job training, with an emphasis in Leadership Development.  During the course of the program, participants work as Supervisors in their host locations in three of the following areas: Customer Service, Operations, Ramp, Provisioning, and Customer Support & Services.  In a fast-paced environment that is always evolving, ELDP graduates have the advantage of Leadership experience in most, or all, areas of Southwest Operations. ELDP graduate, Houston Ramp Supervisor Trey Shaw, shares his ELDP experience below, and how it prepared him for his future at Southwest Airlines. The Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP) provided me the opportunity to step into Ground Operations, without any previous experience, and depart the program feeling fully prepared as a Leader in all three Ground Operations areas.  This program gave me a great view of all aspects of Ground Operations through the eyes of an Agent and Supervisor, which I feel gives me an advantage in my current role as a Supervisor. My host location equipped me with a well-rounded perspective on how my decisions affect our Customers, Employees, and the overall Operation.  In addition to the Station experience, I cannot place a value on the networking and Leadership growth opportunities that I was given throughout the program. I was able to attend Southwest’s Leadership Summit, work through grievances in a Labor Relations observation week, have dinner with Executives, and was paired with a mentor who graduated Southwest’s Manager in Training (MIT) program.  This experience was invaluable to my transition to Ground Operations, and for my career here at Southwest. For more information about ELDP, read our previous post  and visit to apply today!
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