The essence of leadership lies in its ability to influence other people towards the realization of a common goal. Each decision that a leader takes may have a great influence on several of his or her next decisions. However, some leaders seem not to realize the impact of their current decisions on their future.
Successful leaders are those who can use some of the resources they are endowed with to boost their chances of success in achieving their goals or the goals of their entities. Many leaders around the world have had unique and desirable leadership skills. They have been able to drive their entities or organizations through great strides to immense success.
These leaders include Warren Buffett, Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, the late and former South African leader Nelson Mandela, and Rupert Murdoch among others. However, this paper narrows down its focus to Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group.
He has been able to grow from a small-scale and local businessperson to become the owner of a business empire, namely the Virgin Group, which consists of more than four hundred thousand companies worth several billions of dollars.
Key Elements of Sir Richard Branson’s Leadership
One of the key elements of Richard Branson’s leadership is visionary evangelism (Chandler, 1993). A visionary evangelist is a leader who can hold on behalf of the entity that he represents frequent communication with the community.
This element serves to portray the kind of confidence he or she has in the firm’s ability to achieve its objectives. Branson believes that a leader needs to depict a culture that encourages and promotes harmony, creativity, and responsiveness. He aims at expanding the Virgin brand while at the same time maintaining the high standards it has in both its products and services.
The second element of Branson’s leadership is team and consensus building. A leader should be able to build up the commitment, employee motivation, and teamwork (Daft, 2012). Branson has done his best to make his employees enjoy the working atmosphere.
He motivates them to maximize their potential as opposed to the workplace is a place whose only function is to help one earn an income. The leader should try to come up with a culture for his or her organization that suits each employee while minimizing any issues that may bring about conflicts.
Self-knowledge is another important element in Sir Branson’s leadership. The kind of self-concept that one has influenced the level of success of his or her leadership. Good leaders should accept themselves with both their strengths and weaknesses. Other crucial elements include execution of strategy, confidence, persistence and determination, being inspirational, and possession of good communication skills.
Managing a Multifaceted Business
Managing a multifaceted business empire requires good communication skills (Daft, 2012). A manager of such an enterprise needs to help employees understand the company’s goals and plans. He or she should communicate in such a way that enables the company to gain the trust and support of its employees since it will be almost impossible to achieve progress without their goodwill and support.
When this information is relayed well to staff members, it will put each one of them on track towards the achievement of all set goals. The leader will not have to maintain constant supervision on his or her staff. He or she can focus on other plans. Branson always ensures regular communication with his employees through a monthly address to all of them.
He also provides his home address and contacts for anyone who may be having some great ideas that he or she wants to present to him. He also gives his workers a chance to present any problems that they need him to address. This strategy minimizes conflicts while promoting the success of the company.
Another important secret to successful management of a multifaceted business is delegation. A leader should delegate duties that require certain skills that are not within the leaders’ comprehension of people who are in a better position to handle them. Richard Branson has perfected the art of doing what he knows best and hiring other teams or persons to perform the tasks that he is not in a position to handle.
The third factor for success in handling multifaceted businesses is accepting any help that comes one’s way. An ego that makes one ignore other people’s help only serves to prevent one from achieving his or her goals. A leader relies on the knowledge and expertise of his or her colleagues.
He or she should learn to trust their input. However, the leader remains with the right to make the final decision. By letting employees present their ideas and suggestions to him, Branson can realize his vision efficiently (Chandler, 1993).
To motivate his employees, Sir Branson is likely to offer greater opportunity for training and development. With this strategy, he will be aiming at making employees feel they are developing by gaining new skills and experience. Workers will be happier when pursuing and achieving the firm’s objectives since they will also achieve their own goals so that they do not become redundant.
A feeling of stagnancy by employees in their roles may make them leave the organization. Such action by workers will increase the firm’s production costs, thus making it inefficient. The costs of recruiting new staff members and training them will also rise. Branson is also likely to reward high performance.
He understands that employees who perform extremely well expect a show of appreciation (Chandler, 1993). This plan motivates them and other employees to work even better. Some of the forms of rewards that he is likely to use include pay increase, promotion, or even a simple recognition of a job well done.
These strategies are bound to hold in other managerial situations. Employees across firms have almost similar expectations (Stoner & Gilligan, 2002). Any organizational employee expects his or her extra efforts and performance recognized and rewarded.
However, the kind of reward offered in the case of good performers may vary from one firm to another. For this reason, while choosing the type of reward to offer its employees, a firm should seriously consider the kind of reward that will work best for it.
Effective Communication of Company Vision
The effectiveness of Sir Richard Branson’s ability to articulate and communicate his vision for his company, his employees, and stakeholders is quite impressive.
Virgin Group’s employees are always proud to be associated with the company because Branson has been able to clarify the company’s goals and objectives (Chandler, 1993). He has communicated them in a way that makes employees feel like part of the company. As a result, they have achieved the company’s goals their key responsibility.
Branson also ensures that he is always in touch with what goes on, even in the smallest departments of his companies. This strategy enables him to communicate his vision in a way that is understood by all stakeholders (Stoner & Gilligan, 2002).
The effect of this plan is seen in the way employees at Virgin Group are always willing to stick to the company’s vision and aspirations. For one to understand what the company aims at achieving, he or she does not have to go to the top management to get answers to any queries. This achievement makes Branson’s communication skills quite commendable.
Evaluation of Richard Branson’s Leadership
To evaluate Richard Branson’s leadership, I will first look at the kind of attitude that he employs towards his appointed managers. He should be someone with ‘hands off’ kind of strategy.
He lays out his plans and explains them to his managers before giving them the opportunity that is needed to implement these goals and objectives. This plan will show the trust and confidence he has in my abilities to deliver up to the firm’s expectations (Stoner & Gilligan, 2002).
Another expectation is the willingness on his part to avail to me the right team to work with in pursuing the firm’s objectives. The choice of teams that will ensure the achievement of these objectives should be strictly based on merit.
I believe that I should be part of the selection committee that is tasked with constituting the team that will work on the implementation of the specific strategies of which I am in charge. Working for Richard Branson will be desirable for me since he provides a working environment that addresses most of the issues to ensure that a manager has all that he or she needs to deliver on his or her work.
Richard Branson’s Future
Richard Branson is undoubtedly a global leader. His input on business and economic affairs is very much sort after by other leaders. During the economic downturn, he delivered speeches that served to encourage economies and businesspersons not to surrender because of the adverse effects of the recession (Chandler, 1993). He gave them hope of a return to normalcy and even better times ahead.
His speeches became so popular across the globe, with his articles receiving numerous positive reviews. Many countries based their economic decisions on the recommendations he made in some of his speeches. Many people in different countries love him. Almost all his arrivals in these countries are marked with pomp and circumstance. This welcoming style serves to depict his role as a future global leader.
Conclusion: Branson’s Next Five Years
The next five years are very promising for Richard Branson’s position as a business leader. To him, each year usually begins with great plans and ends with the achievement of certain milestones. With the kind of success that Richard Branson is achieving each year, it is clear that he is headed for greatness.
Most of his recent investments, mainly in Europe and Asia, are showing huge success in terms of returns on investment. His philanthropic nature will work for him in helping him land new and more lucrative opportunities across the various continents.
Chandler, S. (1993). High Flier Richard Branson, self-made billionaire and the brains behind Virgin Atlantic Airways, is an adventurer who delights in risking his money and his life. Boston, MA: The Boston Globe.
Daft, R. (2012). Management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Stoner, R., & Gilligan, F. (2002). Leader rebound: how successful managers bounce back from the tests of adversity. Business Horizons, 45(6), 17-24.