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Workplace Leadership Trends
Technology is bringing a change in leadership styles. Leadership methods of
the last century are extremely inefficient in the fast
changing technology world. Motivating environments are needed on the frontline
with people who assume responsibility and exercise leadership. To attract and
keep this type of person, the work environment must inspire and exploit employee
- Company's Distinctive Personality - This is the
future... Strong company personalities attract and repel certain types of
individuals. This is a result of company's policies, practices, or
priorities. Company personality is built and maintained by combining
motivation, opportunity, and creating a desire to learn. The result, a super
- Motivation Management - Leaders must have coaching
skills, not control skills. Motivated people have goals and seek ways to
achieve them. Efficiency is the result of motivated employees.
- Continuous Learning Opportunity - Motivation is
associated with the desire to learn. There needs to be growth opportunity,
without it, motivation dies.
- The Self-Motivating Work Force - Employees assuming
responsibility for their tasks. An environment where workers trust
management and management trust workers.
- The Self-Educating Work Force - With fast changing
technology, the only way to acquire new skills that stays ahead of the
competition is through self-education and team-education. Knowledge must be
acquired as it comes into the marketplace from its source. Educational
institutions offer advance technology courses only when there is a demand
for it. By that time, much of its competitive value is gone.
- Narrow Knowledge Gap - Most businesses operate with a
wide knowledge gap between worker and management. All through history this
has been the policy, it is job security for leadership. Today, efficiency
requires workers to assume responsibility and this requires the narrowing of
the knowledge gap. This is achieved by offering learning opportunity.
Southwest Airlines - 1995
Southwest Airlines is an excellent example of social invention that helps
people discover their true capabilities. The social environment combines humor
with responsibility. Employees work in teams without outside supervision. At job
interviews, the prospective employee must show a sense of humor along with other
self-development attitudes. Only those that match the ridged personnel profile
are hired. The result is a highly motivated, efficiency work environment that
attracts customers. The facts speak for themselves. (As of 1995)
- Founded in 1971 as a low-cost regional air carrier.
- An early leader of worker responsibility.
- The company limits emphasis on the formal organizational
structure. Decision-making is by worker/management committees. Leadership
meetings are taped and shared with employees.
- The company has been profitable every year since 1972,
including 1991, when it was the only major airline in the black.
- Has 176 planes and one of the most modern in the industry.
- Flies more passengers per employee, 2,318 versus 848 for the industry.
- Has the fewest number of employees per aircraft, 79 versus131
for the industry.
- Has the fewest number of customer complaints in the industry.
- 90% of its employees are union members.
- Plane turn around time at the gate is 15 to 20 minutes
compared to one hour for other major carriers.
- Each plane fly’s 10 flights per day, twice the industry
- The company has never had a major accident.
- Many of the company’s employees are now millionaires.
Southwest Airlines is growing and other airlines have noticed. They are
trying to implement worker responsibility programs of their own. The choice is,
move decision-making responsibility to the front-line or go out of business. The
days of command-and-control leadership are over.
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