Richard Branson Leadership

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Introduction
I have chosen to write the profile of a Business leader who I admire on Richard Branson. Branson is a English business magnate, best known as the founder and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies. According to Wagner and Hollenback (2009), leadership is ‘the use of non-coercive and symbolic influence to direct and coordinate the activities of the members of an organised group toward the accomplishment of group objectives. According to Clark (2010), there are three main leadership styles. These are autocratic, democratic and laissez faire. In order to be an effective leader, managers should use all three leadership styles. A good leader should be able to judge which leadership style is most appropriate in a given situation. Research carried out by the University of Michigan and Ohio State University suggests that there are a number of behavioural and leadership theories. These theories outline different aspects of a leader’s behaviour or leadership style which may differentiate those who are effective leaders from those who are not. For example, the University of Michigan identified two general classes of supervisory behaviour. These are employee oriented and job production oriented behaviours. Research carried out by the Ohio State University is very similar to the above piece of research. They identify the two classes of supervisory behaviour styles as a considerate style i.e. employee oriented and an initiating structure style i.e. job production oriented. Similarly to the two above pieces of research, Fiedler identifies two different leadership styles. These are relationship motivated leaders i.e. employee oriented/considerate style and task motivated leaders i.e. job production oriented/initiating structure style. Another piece of research conducted by House identifies four different behavioural styles. They are as follows: directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership and achievement oriented leadership. In order for a manager to be an effective leader they must also be able to perform their roles effectively. A modern leader has fourteen main roles. Richard Branson’s Profile

Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born on the 18th of July 1950 in Blackheath, London. In his youth, Branson was not an impressive student. He was dyslexic and near-sighted, but he could always make things happen. When he was seventeen, attending school at Stowe, Richard and a classmate started a magazine, Student . When doing an interview with The Guardian he stated “ it was aimed at giving young people a voice on key issues such as the Vietnam War”. He sold £6,000 worth of advertising in its first edition, which was launched in 1966. The first run of 50,000 copies was disseminated for free, after Branson covered the costs with advertising. This was important business and sales experience for Branson and what he learnt during this time benefited him over time. While running the Student from a basement in London, Richard noticed that stores were not discounting records. Richard began to run ads in the Student offering records at discount prices. The orders flooded in and record sales soon became more profitable than subscription sales. Richard quickly set up an office above an old shoe store and Virgin was born (http://www.lemonadestories.com/virgin.html). The name "Virgin" was suggested by one of Branson's early employees because they were all new at business. It was from this point that the Virgin brand grew. Earning enough money from his record store, Branson in 1972 launched the record label Virgin Records with Nik Powell and bought a country estate, in which he installed a recording studio. Mike Oldfield, whose debut album Tubular Bells (1973) was Virgin Records' first release and a chart-topping best-seller. Virgin Records had other notable artists such as “The Sex Pistols” and “Culture Club”. n 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold the Virgin label...
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