The airline industry is often mocked for its poor customer service and its unhelpful employees, but Southwest Airlines is changing that. Customers loyal to Southwest often say how happy and friendly the employees are, and how hard they work to try and help customers. The airline has been in operation for 43 years, yet has managed to continue communicating its goals and vision to employees that makes them feel unified. Southwest also gives employees “permission” to go that extra mile to make customers happy, which gives them empowerment to do what they need to meet the company’s vision.

Employees who are convinced of a larger common goal are excited to be part of a larger purpose and know that their effort makes a difference.

There are 3 types of cultures. A passive/defensive culture is when a leader focuses on what the employee is doing wrong. So, employees will not take initiative. They will wait for the boss to approve of everything first. An aggressive culture values competitiveness and outperforming their peers. Leaders are uninvolved and would rather focus on seeking the team’s approval, instead of leading company values and keeping the environment constructive. The goal is to create a constructive culture. Less than 15% of companies have this type. But those that are constructive are significantly more profitable in the same industry than the toxic cultures. Move culture in the right direction by

  • Helping employees think for themselves

Don’t do the work for them. Training takes time, so it is tempting just to do a task yourself or give the task to someone else. But that will not help your employees when they need to do the job in the future. Your role is that of a coach. When they need assistance, walk it through, step-by-step, but don’t let them off the hook. People may need to experience things a few times before they catch on.

  • Involving employees in decisions

Our culture today is complex and fast-moving and that carries over into our work environments. When we don’t have all the information we need to make the best decision, it’s worth taking the time to gather additional information from others.

  • Being concerned with employee growth

Invest in the training and development of your employees. Help others learn how to be successful with the proper resources and tools. If someone needs your guidance, be honest and provide good feedback.

Culture is about the employees and making sure the work environment is positive and fun. The work should be challenging and allow employees to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. People like to feel appreciated and want to know that their part is contributing to the company.





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