The Southwest Way: Leadership, Power, and Motivation
When Herb Kelleher and Rollin King founded Southwest Airlines in 1971, their mission stated the “dedication of the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit” (Smith, 2012). With that mission in mind, Herb Keller and Rollin King managed to make Southwest the only profitable airline in the United States (Smith, 2012). Southwest’s mission is not the only reason why the airline continues to grow. Without the way, Herb Kelleher former CEO of Southwest, had developed a particular leadership style, power base, and a set way the organization motivates its’ work force, the company would not be as successful as it is
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Both transformational and servant leadership promote individuality and development. Power intertwines with leadership style. Power is defined as “a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes” (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 421). There are five different bases that are the source of power, but not all of them pertain to Southwest. The ones that pertain to Southwest are reward and legitimate power. Reward power is when people comply because it will result in a positive benefit (Robbins & Judge, 2011). Southwest has numerous recognition programs where top executives get together with other employees to honor individuals who have done an extraordinary job. One of these awards is the “Heroes of the Heart” which goes to a group of ten to twelve people customers rarely see (Singh, 2010). These are the people who work behind the scenes and have an impact on the airline. The winners of this award are revealed every Valentine’s Day by their names being printed on one of the aircrafts. Communication is an important part of this reward system because leadership has to go to the “Hero of the Heart” committee to nominate individuals who should receive this award. Without the communication of extraordinary work and progress of other employees to the committee, this award would not exist.
Another power that is practiced at Southwest is legitimate power. Legitimate