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Southwest Airlines Community

Raising the Leadership Bar at Southwest Airlines

Explorer C

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at Southwest for ten years. Time flies. I moved to Dallas from the San Francisco Bay Area “temporarily” to gain some experience in Leadership Development. Since that time, I married my college sweetheart, bought two homes, and have three amazing children.

Jeff Lamb, my Leader, knows this story. He knows it very well because he knows me. A common phrase we use to describe an effective Leader is “My Leader gets me.” Jeff doesn’t just know me because he should–he genuinely cares about my life. I work for a Leader who is passionate about developing People and leading with a Servant’s Heart. How lucky am I?

We have five expectations of every Leader at Southwest: Live the Southwest Way (Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart, Fun-LUVing Attitude), Develop People, Build Great Teams, Think Strategically, and Get Excellent Results. We hire and promote based on these expectations. In our University for People, our curriculum is designed to provide learning for Leaders around each expectation. Our Senior Leaders participate in the development of our less experienced Leaders by visiting classes and facilitating lessons. Jeff continues to be one of our most requested speakers because of his experience and the relationships he builds with the Participants. In a nutshell, people leave class saying “Jeff gets me.” They’re right. And, many of you who have communicated with Jeff through this blog know that too. Here’s a short video of Jeff in action:
Adventurer B
Hi Elizabeth, I think that what you do at SWA is brilliant! It is also important to understand that not everybody can necessarily have the qualities to be a great leader, I know many people who are brilliant in their areas, without being able to inspire and manage a team... Working on their personal development and ensuring that they have a fulfilling career that is focused on what they do well is so important... especially during the early stages of mapping out someone's career! :o)) Raphael
Explorer B
What Hotels Compoany do Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants stay in
Explorer C
Dear Elizabeth Thank you for sharing your story and the video of Jeff's message. Very inspirational. I am keen to learn more about Southwest's work with humor and fun in an organisational context. I am currently pursuing a PhD research project on the value of humor in worklaces and haven't been able to identify any organisation here in Australia with the depth of Southwest's experiences. I would love to talk more about this - I may even have the chance to visit Dallas and would value the opportunity to meet up and share ideas. Keep smiling - and keep up the good work. Cheers Daryl (from 42 degrees south of the Equator)