'Never had control, never wanted it'
I never worked with nor interviewed Herb Kelleher when he was the CEO of Southwest Airlines, but I have long admired his sense of humor, his entrepreneurial flair, and (most of all) his leadership philosophy. A financial analyst once asked Kelleher if we was afraid of losing control of Southwest. Kelleher replied, "I never had control, and I never wanted it. If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don't need control."
To me, Kelleher embodied the difference between management and leadership. The word manage comes from the Italian word "maneggiare" that means "to control a horse." Lead comes from an old English word meaning "he who goes first in battle." Kelleher's form of leadership didn't have anything to do with controlling or managing. It had everything to do with setting an example and liberating individual potential.
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