Instructor: Bess White
Bus 520: Leadership and Organization
February 25, 2012
Describe Branson’s leadership style in terms of the leadership models addressed in Chapters 10 and 11 and evaluate the likely effectiveness of that style in the U.S. today.
Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., has created a multi-billion dollar enterprise, which includes: airlines, records, bridal wear, holidays, vodka, cars, bank accounts, mobile phones, cosmetics, condoms and gyms (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). The Virgin Group is a globally recognized brand that has approximately 50,000 employees and earns more than $20 billion in sales annually (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Sir Richard Branson is known to be one of the greatest entrepreneurs and with that consumers can expect more unique creations from Sir Richard Branson (Boje & Smith, 2012). In order for a business to acquire and maintain such exponential growth, a company must have an effective leader. According to Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), Branson is a genuine strategist who thinks outside the box and he has achieved many great things despite some setbacks throughout the years. Branson anticipates future trends, inspiring followers to understand and embrace a new vision of possibilities. He develops others to be leaders or better leaders; that’s what makes him a transformational leader (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Sir Richard Branson, has a philosophy that is centered on finding people with strong communication and teamwork skills that can be integrated into Virgin Group culture. Once the proper employees are hired, Virgin Group continues the employee’s professional development, allowing the company to promote existing employees. Branson’s philosophy enables him to develop new leaders, which are able to foresee the company’s future and embrace new visions. Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), also say that transformational leaders are risk takers and welcome new opportunities. Sir Richard Branson states that it is impossible to run a business without taking risks, and he is no stranger to doing so (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Branson publicly admits to three tremendous setbacks: a) the launch of a portable MP3 player (the Virgin Pulse) was crushed by the Apple iPod and lost over $20 million; b) against top management advice, Branson held on to Virgin’s Megastore retail outlets far too long, costing the group financially when the megastores were finally sold; c) Branson created Virgin Cola as an attempt to enter the United Kingdom’s Coca-Cola territory, but Coca-Cola crushed that effort. The Virgin Group has experienced its fair share of failures but that has never stopped Branson from looking for new opportunities. Because of these attributes, Branson is a great transformational leader and is a perfect fit in today’s world. The world is constantly evolving from the old into the new, and this constant change creates the need for companies to adapt accordingly. Based on constant change a company must be able to adapt accordingly. Transformational leadership is such a great asset to today’s world because its leaders are true visionaries. For instance, to his colleagues Branson is known as Dr. Yes because he finds it hard to say no to new ideas and proposals. Being open to new ideas and proposals sets Virgin Groups apart from other companies because they are never afraid to try venture into new areas. Virgin Group prides itself on doing things in an innovative way while aspiring to provide quality services (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Visionaries are key to the evolution of today’s world and are important to the generations of the future.
Recommend a different leadership style (or combination of styles) that would make Branson an even more effective leader.
Transformational and transactional leadership are two of the most popular...