Richard Branson is a renowned entrepreneur and investor from the United Kingdom. He is the owner of the Virgin Group, a conglomerate that comprises over 400 distinct companies (Dearlove, 2007). His entrepreneurial ventures began at the age of 16 when he founded and successfully operated a magazine known as Student (Fertig, 2013).
His first businesses were founded in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he founded other companies that promoted the growth of his business empire. Examples of Branson’s successful and acclaimed businesses include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactithe c, and Virgin Records (Dearlove, 2007). His success is attributed to his leadership style that has seen his business empire grow from humble beginnings to attain international status.
The leadership traits that make Branson a successful leader include self-awareness, self-knowledge, determination, charisma, persistence, and open-mindedness (Fertig, 2013). His democratic style of leadership promotes teamwork and gives employees and managers the freedom to make decisions that improve the welfare of his businesses.
Elements of Branson’s leadership style
Leadership can be defined as the ability to influence, guide, motivate, inspire, and empower individuals to work towards certain goals in order to attain certain desired outcomes (Dearlove, 2007). Elements of Branson’s leadership style include the ability to empower and motivate employees, possession of team building skills, creativity and innovativeness, and determination (Fertig, 2013).
In addition, he is visionary and delegates responsibilities. Branson is a visionary leader who does not fear failure or challenges (Dearlove, 2007). He collaborates with his employees in the creation of visions and missions of different companies. On the other hand, he knows how to motivate employees.
For example, he offers training programs, stretch projects, and better remuneration in order to keep employees motivated and empowered (Sosik & Jung, 2012). Through employee empowerment programs and remuneration rewards, Branson is able to retain the most productive, creative, and innovative employees.
On the other hand, he uses his creativity and innovativeness to introduce change that gives hisa companies competitive advantagea in different markets. To promote innovation, he offers employees the opportunity to present their ideas and opinions. He gives feedback to employees’ ideas and opinions thus making them feel valued and part of the Virgin group (Sosik & Jung, 2012). Branson possesses excellent communication skills.
For that reason, he engages employees at personal levels and listens to them. On the other hand, he values the importance of cross-cultural communication because his businesses operate in different cultures. He is an eloquent speaker and a good listener. Branson is also a determined leader who does not give up due to temporary failure.
For instance, when he started Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka, he failed on both instances but he did not give up and the failure of the two ventures strengthened his entrepreneurial spirit (Dearlove, 2007).
Finally, Branson is passionate and courageous. He does not fear challenges and starts businesses regardless of the risks involved. For example, Branson took great risk by starting Virgin Galactic that deals with space tourism. His visionary attitude enables him to take risks and make big profits from business ventures.
Branson’s leadership and Virgin’s rapid growth
The aforementioned leadership traits mesh successfully with Virgin Group’s attributes as a multifaceted organization. First, through good communication skills, Branson is able to communicate the mission, vision, and goals of each business to managers and employees. On the other hand, by delegating responsibilities to employees, management of businesses becomes easy (Fertig, 2013).
Second, employee empowerment and motivation ensures that employees attain and maintain high levels of productivity. For that reason, all sections of the business empire yield the expected outcomes. Through improved efficiency and increased productivity, employees attain the goals and objectives of each business.
Third, through innovation and creativity, Branson is able to gain a competitive advantage for each of his businesses (Sosik & Jung, 2012). The modern business world is volatile and unpredictable. Therefore, Branson embraces change and introduces new strategies based on prevailing market requirements and dynamics. For example, Branson introduced a new look about the financial transaction by introducing Virgin Money Bank (Fertig, 2013).
The bank has establishments that resemble living rooms and are fitted with Wi-Fi services and comfortable seats. He veered from the traditional setup of banking facilities. In addition, he hires highly competent and skilled managers to lead his businesses. Fourth, Branson is a visionary leader. For that reason, he formed Virgin Management Limited to oversee the activities of other companies (Fertig, 2013).
Branson saw the need for a company that could act as an intermediary between him and his other companies. This company collects information for all the constituent companies of Virgin Group and report to Branson. On the other hand, Branson communicates the goals and objectives of Virgin Group through Virgin Management Limited (Fertig, 2013).
Ways of employee motivation
A motivated workforce is highly productive and more efficient than a less motivated workforce (Sosik & Jung, 2012). Two methods that Branson could use to motivate employees include additional remuneration and reward schemes such as free training programs. Additional remuneration gives employees a feeling of increased worth and value to a company. Employees who feel valued and cared are more efficient, effective, and productive (Dearlove, 2007).
Many employees look for opportunism to improve their knowledge and skills in order to increase the opportunities they can access on the job market. Branson could motivate employees by offering free training programs that improve the knowledge and expertise of employees (Sosik & Jung, 2012). Additional training could be followed by additional remuneration.
This approach is likely to work in a different organizational setting because all employees yearn for better remuneration and increased opportunities for career advancement through training. Employees move to different organizations in search of better remuneration and opportunities to advance their careers.
Branson’s communication skills and their effectiveness
Richard Branson possesses excellent communication skills. For example, he writes a letter every month to employees regarding the plans of Virgin group (Mills, Bratton, & Forshaw, 2006). In the monthly letter, he discusses the strategies and future accomplishments of the Virgin group, the group’s challenges, and possible solutions, and progress with regard to the achievement of goals.
In addition, he gives his telephone address and home address in case an employee has an idea or opinion regarding the wellbeing of the company. This style of communication strengthens the relationship between Branson and his employees. Branson encourages communication and feedback among employees and managers (Mills et al., 2006).
He offers his employees an opportunity to present the ideas, opinions, and grievances that can help to improve his businesses. This style of communication gives employees an opportunity to be heard. Employees are more confident about finding solutions to their problems when they talk directly to Branson other than talking to managers and supervisors (Sosik & Jung, 2012).
He offers feedback and thus increases trust among employees. Branson’s communication with employees and other stakeholders presents an opportunity to express his ideas, opinions, and the strategies of the group (Mills et al., 2006). On the other hand, employees get an opportunity to think about new opportunities and possibilities that are available.
Virgin Group is very successful because Branson has mastered the art of effective communication because he does not command or impose rules on employees (Sosik & Jung, 2012). In contrast, he involves them in the daily operations and decisions of the group.
Finally, he communicates in ways that are easy to understand. For example, he gives presentations that are simple and devoid of complex technological and financial terms in order for stakeholders to understand. He believes that the secret of effective communication is simplicity and clarity.
Evaluating Richard Branson’s leadership style
I would observe how Branson makes decisions, communicates, and handles the company’s activities in order to determine his leadership style. Aspects that I would observe in his leadership include delegation of responsibilities, charisma, ability to embrace change, open-mindedness, and style of communication. I would look for his willingness to listen attentively and ask questions, availability for discussions, and his attitude towards change.
Other aspects of leadership that I would observe in Branson include honesty, friendliness, humility, and the willingness to involve me in the decision making the process. After observing these aspects of leadership, I would make certain conclusions.
For instance, I would conclude that his leadership style is fit for me as a manager if he delegates certain responsibilities, involves me in making decisions, asks for my opinion with regard to company operations, and inspires and motivates me to increase my productivity and efficiency. On the other hand, I would conclude that his leadership is unfit for me as a manager if I fail to observe these leadership qualities and behaviors.
Is Richard Branson a global leader?
Richard Branson is a global leader because his business ventures are global and contribute to the growth of the global economy (Mills et al., 2006). His companies operate in many countries around the world. For example, he operates in countries that rank among the greatest in terms of their gross domestic product (GDP). On the other hand, his workforce comprises people from different ethnic groups, races, cultures, and origins (Sosik & Jung, 2012).
His style of communication matches the need to satisfy the different needs of different people from around the world. Many of his businesses including Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Records are international businesses (Mills et al., 2006). For instance, Virgin Atlantic operates in more than 36 countries around the world. Finally, he leads a brand that has international recognition for its success and effect on communities around the world.
Branson’s success very the next five leaders
Branson will be successful as a leader in the next five leaders because of his leadership style. Traits that will make him successful include innovation, creativity, and delegation. Branson’s success as a leader will largely depend on how well he embraces innovation and creativity in his businesses. For example, he announced that Virgin Atlantic would develop a low-carbon aviation fuel that would support efforts to conserve the environment.
Branson is a good listener and communicator. These traits will strengthen his leadership style because they will make employees feel valued and cared for by the Virgin Group. Finally, his courage and persistence will augment his style of leadership. For example, Virgin Galactic will revolutionalize tourism and give people new travel experiences (Mills et al., 2006).
Great leaders find ways to solve problems that affect society. Branson has announced that Virgin Atlantic will develop low- carbon fuel that will support efforts to reduce global warming and conserve the environment. Developing products that conserve the environment is one of the ways that Branson will strengthen his leadership style.
Richard Branson is a renowned investor and entrepreneur whose success and business acumen is attributed to his style of leadership. Examples of Branson’s successful and acclaimed businesses include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactic, and Virgin Records. Through his style of leadership, he has built his business empire and elevated it to international standards.
His style of leadership is characterized by traits that include delegation of responsibilities, effective communication, change, persistence, innovation, creativity, self-knowledge and awareness, and vision. One of the main factors of his success is innovation that gives his businesses a competitive advantage.
Virgin Group Branson’s excellent communication skills enable him to interact successfully with employees and stakeholders. For instance, he writes to employees monthly regarding the Virgin group’s progress, strategies, and goals. He offers employees to give their opinions, ideas, and complaints.
His visionary disposition led to the creation of Virgin Management Limited, a company that oversees the activities of the more than 400 companies that comprise Virgin Group. His business ventures, leadership style, and desire for finding solutions to problems that affect people render Branson a global leader. His unrelenting desire for success and willingness to take risks and delegate responsibilities will make him a better leader over the next five years.
Dearlove, D. (2007). Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Fertig, D. (2013). Richard Branson. New York: Raintree.
Mills, J., Bratton, J., & Forshaw, C. (2006). Organizational Behaviour in a Global Context. London: University of Toronto.
Sosik, J., & Jung, D. (2012). Full Range Leadership. New York: Taylor & Francis.