Leadership and Love—Why they are a perfect match

“If you seek long continued success for your business organization, treat your People as family and LEAD WITH LOVE.” 

That is the advice that Herb Kelleher, legendary founder of Southwest Airlines, offers readers in the foreword of a new book, Lead with LUV: A Different Way to Create Real Success that looks at the leadership practices that have made Southwest a benchmark for great management.

As Kelleher explains, “…an infusion of love is an essential, but oft overlooked, ingredient in any business organization that wants to be superlative for a long period of time, rather than just “successful” for a limited time.

“Most people are looking not only for monetary security but also for psychic satisfaction in their work. That satisfaction is provided in our personal lives by the love and affection of family and friends. Why shouldn’t a business simply be an enlargement of our circle of family and friends?”

A large part of Southwest’s success is the servant leader attitude of its top executives as well as leaders through all levels of the organization.  And a great example of that philosophy in action is Colleen Barrett, president emeritus and coauthor of the book. 

“For more than forty years,” says Kelleher, “in her relationships with the People of Southwest Airlines, Colleen Barrett has ensured that no grief goes unattended; that no joy goes unshared; that each achievement is celebrated; and that those requiring help receive it.”

The result has been a corporate culture where Southwest’s employees feel the love and in turn, share the love, with customers.  And customers have responded with Southwest generating the same types of legendary customer service stories in their industry that Nordstrom’s generates in retailing.

Where does love fit in your organizational culture?  Do your people feel that someone has their best interest at heart—or are they just another cog in the machine?  Try a little caring.  You might be surprised at the difference it makes!


To learn more about how Southwest has made love a part of their operating system, download the first chapter of Lead with LUV here.  And if you know of an organization that exemplifies love in action when it comes to treating employees and customers right, be sure to let others know at Spread the LUV –a special blog site for success stories.

PS: On January 26, Colleen Barrett will be presenting a free webinar together with Ken Blanchard, her coauthor on Lead with LUV.  The event is free and over 2,000 people have already registered, but there is still room for others to attend.  To learn more visit http://www.webex.com/webinars/Lead-with-LUV-A-Different-Way-to-Create-Real-Success


2 thoughts on “Leadership and Love—Why they are a perfect match

Leave a Reply