CEO Gary Kelly

Topics: Chief executive officer, Southwest Airlines, Airline Pages: 7 (1483 words) Published: April 20, 2015


Leadership Style; What Do People Do When They Are Leading?
BUS520: Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Strayer University
6/08/2014

Leadership Style: CEO Gary Kelly Southwest Airline
Gary Kelly grew up in San Antonio Texas and he was active in his school years. He played every sport but baseball. Most of the time, he was the team captain, and also he was voted to be the president of his class. He also learned to play the guitar and trombone. He still enjoys playing the guitar for 30 minutes every day. After graduating from high school, he went to college and played football; after a losing season, he decided to study to be an accountant like his father. After graduating from college, he was working at Arthur Young & Co. at the Dallas office. One of the office’s top clients was Southwest Airline. In 1986, Gary started working at Southwest Airline as a controller. From 1989-2001 he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer; 2001-2004 he was Executive Vice President, CFO; 2004-2008 Chief Executive Officer and in 2008 after the retirement of the co-founder Kelleher, Gary became the President and Chairman of the board.

Gary has had many accomplishments during his carrier with Southwest. He has been named the CEO of the Year by D CEO Magazine, by Institutional Investor Magazine three times, and also by the Dallas Business Journal. Gary’s Leadership Style

Gary leadership style is unique. His qualities are humbleness to the dependency of those around him, persistence, hard work, passion and caring for his family (Hill). How did he accomplish these qualities? He understood that he cannot do the job by himself, and that he needed to depend on people to help him. He understood that he was not alone. Always getting another executive's inputs during decision making processes was also a key. Gary never gave up; working hard and is passionate about what he does. He is very passionate about his employees. Employees are like family. Another key of his success is that he doesn’t concentrate on the money. He concentrates on serving his customer, and because he is so passionate about customer service, the company has been successful even during tough times.

Gary also has a genuine care for people, and believes communication is the key of being a leader. Gary stated; “Communication is largely about listening, leaders need to know when to listen and respond”. He is characterized for being himself, and his emphasis is the that importance of being you within the culture.

Another trait from Gary is that everyone has a voice; it doesn’t matter what is your position, and that everyone has the right to express themselves in a respectful way. Employees are his priority, and that is why Southwest employees are the highest paid in the industry. He is admired for his sense of humor. He has created traditions and rituals throughout the company. One of the biggest rituals is during Halloween. Everybody in the company decorates their areas and wears a costume. Gary also celebrates Halloween. Every year he dresses up for the occasion. Everyone is always looking forward to see what costume he is going to wear. Gary’s Personal and Organizational Values

Gary’s personal values are family oriented. He believes that family is the most important thing in his life. He married his high school sweetheart, and they have two daughters. He actually considers all 40,000 Southwest Airline employees his family. That is why that as soon his grandson was born, he made the announcement throughout the company. He feels a connection with his employees, and that is why he is successful. He prefers to spend his time with the employees than in his corporate office. I guess he likes to travel a lot. A leader that is seen out and about with his employees gives those same employees a sense of pride, and that they make a difference for the company.

His organizational values are as strong as his...

References: Hill, H. L, Inside Southwest Airline: With CEO Gary Kelly, URL; http//www.heatherleighhill.com/…/an-interview-with-southwest-airlines-ceo-gary-kelly.
Leadership Secrets of Gary Kelly, Chairman CEO of Southwest Airline (September 21, 2013), Trading Secrets, URL: tradesec,blogspot.com/2013/09/leadership-secret-of-gary-kelly.html.
Mueller, T, October 8, 2009, Southwest Airlines CEO Kelly on Luv, Leadership and Employee and Customer Satisfaction, McCombs Today,
URL; www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/print/3249.
Schermerhorn, J. R., Osborn, R. N., Uhl-Bien, M., Hunts, J. G. (2012), Organization Cultures, Organizational Behavior, p.p. 347-367.
Southwest Company Profile, URL; http://swamedia.com/channels/Officer- Biographies/pages/gary_kelly.
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