Southwest Airlines is one of the few airlines that is still able to make a profit in a volatile industry. They can do this because they planned ahead (bought fuel when it was cheap), have great management and encourage their employees to have fun. Management knows that when they allow their employees to be themselves, their good mood will rub off on their customers.
Most of my past employers stifled employees' personalities because they wanted to control every little thing. Employees became afraid to make mistakes and this caused unhappiness.
We should take a lesson from Southwest's lead:
1. Sing When You Feel Like it
Southwest is known to have their employees bust out in song. It could be one employee or the whole group, but as I looked around during the flight attendant's rendition of "Sweet Child of Mine," I noticed that almost all the passengers were smiling. It makes the employee and customer feel good. It's a win win.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothing
Southwest allows their employees to wear clothing that makes them feel comfortable. They have clothing that looks soft and not polyester starchy. When an employee can feel good and look good, it's going to make them happier.
3. Make Jokes
The pilot got on the radio and made a joke about us making up time in the air. He said, "Ladies and gentleman we are powering up the thrust boosters and we'll be on our way shortly." It made me smile.
4. Give Unique and Fun Information
As we flew by the Grand Canyon the pilot let the passengers know that we were passing it on the right side of the plane. My wife and I were on the other side and had a tough time seeing it. We still got a glimpse when we stood up and looked from the aisle. When we were flying home my wife made sure to ask the flight attendant which side of the plane we needed to sit on so we could see the Grand Canyon. It made the first part of the flight back to Austin a little more interesting.
5. Be Playful
I drank too much Starbucks Tea (I got a Grande) in the airport lounge, so I had to use the bathroom 3 times. I have a small bladder, especially when I break the seal, you coffee and beer drinkers know what I'm talking about. The flight attendant, on my third time using the bathroom, noticed my peeing frenzy and said that I wasn't allowed to use the bathroom. I responded in kind, "Did I fill it up?" We both laughed. It made me appreciate the personality that Southwest encourages to come out.
What can you do to allow your personality to shine at work? Do you think this would allow you to enjoy your job just a little more? Or do you believe that your company would rather you keep your personality to yourself?
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