Sir Richard Branson

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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 is one of the world’s most influential business leaders. As an entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of the international brand Virgin he is known for the success of his company and its products established in the 1970’s. Sir Richard Branson started his business in a small record store that allotted him enough capital to obtain his own record label Virgin Records. Branson then expanded his entrepreneurial endeavors in to several business ventures. Some of the more successful business ventures under his brand include the travel company the Voyager Group, the airline Virgin Atlantic, and a chain of Virgin Megastores. The Virgin brand is one of Great Britain’s most esteemed brands “whose wide-ranging business empire (encompassing music, travel, soft drinks, internet and financial services, mobile phones, bridal wear, clothing, and cosmetics) is reportedly worth £4 billion (in 2006).” Because of Branson’s upbringing, as a child he learned to never allow adversity adhere the accomplishment of reaching his goals. As a progressive intellectual, he has rejuvenated many unwavering industry procedures by changing the traditional business practices. Branson has a strong belief in creativity and is not afraid to challenge conventional methods of business with a unique approach. Sir Branson credits his success to his amazing upbringing. Influenced by family, he learned the quality of team building, collaboration, work ethic, and encouragement. The type of leadership that Sir Branson embodies is the participative management style and the transformational leadership model. Participative leadership style is a form of leadership which incorporates all individuals of team recognizing necessary goals, developing strategies for accomplishing those goals, and specific procedures for reaching them. Participative leadership, in this perspective, can be viewed as a style of leadership that depends greatly on the leader operating as an implementer instead of just simply distributing orders or creating assignments. This style of leadership is a more involved working relationship. As a leader effectively using the participative leadership style, Branson accepts the skills and talents of his team members and utilizes as best fit. For example, “As a result, many of the Virgin companies are the product of employee ideas. A bridal service division called Virgin Bride, for example, was the idea of a Virgin Airways stewardess to whom Branson provided “venture capital.” The company’s new ventures allow Branson to stretch and develop employees by creating more opportunities for upward mobility and greater responsibility (Kets de Vries and Dick, 1995).” This sharing within a team creates a great working environment for team members to safely provide input that can potentially become profitable for the company and it increases the scope of possibilities for the entire team. Participative style of leadership is similar to transformational leaders. Both principles allow leaders to work to develop employee’s individual talents. Also practicing the principles of a transformational leader, Branson prides himself on his ability to inspire and motivate others. “Branson’s maxim is staff first, customers second, and shareholders third, and Branson clearly keeps an eye on these results.” This type of leader is concerned with the feelings of the employees, how they may feel about changes, appreciates their opinions, and motivates job performance. As a motivator, Branson encourages each employee to work hard to achieve goals they have set personally as well as company goals. The US today, would benefit from using this both styles of leadership. By using the participative leadership style leaders can begin encouraging team’s members to be more involved in decision making...
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