Herb Kelleher is an interesting leader--very different from other leaders. He is the founder of Southwest Airlines and he has broken many of the traditional rules when it comes to leadership. While building the airline, he knew that his people were what was going to separate his company from all the others.
As a result, he and his team have paid very close attention to those they hire as well as how they as a company treat them. In fact, from a customer service perspective, they treat customers very well; however the customer is right behind the employee in terms of importance. This flies in the face of the "customer is always right" mantra.
In the book, Nuts, examples are told of irate customers who accused an employee of mistreating them. If the employee disagreed, the airline always took the side of the employee, even though it meant that they would have a very unhappy customer. However, what this has done is to produce a very loyal workforce who love what they do, which in turn helps to produce more happy customers.
Southwest is all about treating their employees as family members. They show them love and respect and as a result, that love and respect is returned to the company and to the customer. They also encourage fun.
If you've ever flown Southwest, you have probably experienced some pretty zany stuff. This is all encouraged by Southwest and it really separates them from most airlines and it shows the love they have for their jobs. Take a couple of minutes and view the video above of a flight attendant announcement with a bit of a twist, but do this only if you want to smile.
All this has happened because a leader dared to lead his company by following the Golden Rule.
"Do to others as you would have them do to you."