What is Gary Kelly’s Style of Management as CEO of Southwest Airlines

About Gary Kelly

According to the man himself, leadership is…”Effectively supporting your team of Employees.”  (Gary Kelly).

Gary Kelly serves as the chairman, president and chief executive at Southwest Airlines. A 22-year Southwest veteran who became chief financial officer in 1989, Mr. Kelly has worked closely with Southwest’s Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher and President Emeritus Colleen Barrett to build the nation’s fifth-largest airline—and the undisputed low-fare leader.

Gary Kelly’s Style of Management

Gary fits mostly into the consultative style of management. His many years of experience at the same company has helped him develop a strong understanding of business and how to support its employees. He uses this expertise to meet the needs of employees without hurting the bottom line. By supporting employees, you generally get better customer satisfaction rates as a result, which is definitely true with Southwest airlines.

In this style of management, communication will flow downward, but feedback from employees is encouraged and can result in actionable change. This style has been highly advantageous  for Southwest because it it fosters loyalty from pilots, flight attendants, and other employees. Keeping labor turnover low and costs down are critical strategic objectives for running a budget airline. 


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