10 Best Companies for Leaders 2012: #5 Southwest Airlines

Procter & Gamble
#5 Southwest Airlines


Gary C. Kelly, CEO

An airline known for its low costs and high spirits, Southwest manages largely through its culture. It hires on attitude and enthusiasm and attempts to burnish this in a variety of ways, including The University for People (U4P), its corporate training facility dedicated to developing and delivering personal, professional and leadership curriculum.

The Manager-in-Training (MIT) Program is a development experience for high-potential leaders who have long-term interest and future prospects within the company. There are two program levels: MIT I and MIT II. MIT I offers learning experiences and department visits that emphasize all aspects of Southwest Airlines and its culture. Participants experience 20-plus training sessions, including interactive exercises, assignments and visits by different departments within the company. Participants learn about various aspects of Southwest Airlines to give its workforce a better understanding of the “big picture” and what Southwest Airlines, as a company, is all about. MIT II focuses on leaders at the manager level to strengthen management expectations and build key leadership skills, such as strategic thinking and coaching. Building relationships with other managers, directors and senior leaders across the company is another invaluable experience of both levels of the MIT Program.

Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Texas ranked #1 in Chief Executive’s Best/Worst States for Business 2011.

2010 Ranking
Not ranked

#6 ADP, Carlos A. Rodriguez »« #4 3M, George Buckley


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