Dr. Jeffrey Weaver
BUS 520 – Leadership and Organizational Behavior
March 10, 2013
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group, Ltd Case Study
In this paper I will describe Sir Richard Branson’s leadership style and evaluate the effectiveness of his style in the United States today. I will give my recommendation of a leadership style that I feel would make Branson a more effective leader. I will also determine ways in which Branson could develop and lead a global team when working on a major project. In addition, I will discuss ways that I could incorporate Branson’s leadership qualities into my role at my workplace.
Sir Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group. He was born in 1950 in the United Kingdom. Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16 due to having trouble in school in addition to being diagnosed with dyslexia. Branson began a student paper at the age of 16. He later started a mail-order business and a record label soon after. During the growth of the Virgin brand, Branson also ventured into Airlines and also started a record label in the US. Branson started Virgin Galactic which is a space tourism company in 2005. Today the Virgin brand has more than 200 various businesses in over 30 countries (Dearlove, 2007).
I believe that Branson’s leadership style is transformational. He is also appears to be a very charismatic leader. Transformational leadership is when a leader anticipates future trends that inspire followers to understand and embrace a new vision of possibilities, developing others to be leaders or better leaders, and building the organization or group into a community of challenged and rewarding leaders (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Transformational leadership has four components. Transformational leaders show individualized consideration which is the degree to which the leader attends to followers’ needs, acts as mentor or coach, and listens to followers’ concerns (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). These types of leaders encourage their followers to share ideas and constantly attain higher levels in order to reach their full potential. The second component of transformational leadership is intellectual stimulation. Followers are encouraged to be innovative and creative (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). This is the degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, takes risks, and solicits followers’ ideas. The third component of transformational leadership is inspirational motivation. This is the degree to which the leader articulates a vision that appeals to followers (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals (Bass, 1985). The fourth component of transformational leadership is idealized influence. This is the degree to which the leader behaves in charismatic ways that cause followers to identify with him or her (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Due to the fact that follower’s trust and respect transformational leaders, they are more likely to internalize the leaders’ beliefs and ideas. Branson is known for taking out a notebook and pen when chatting with employees and customers. He is very involved with his company and employees. This shows that he cares about the suggestions, comments and concerns that his employees have within the company. He believes that if employees are happy, they will do a better job. If they do a better job, the customers will be happy, and thus business will be good and the shareholders will be rewarded (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). In my opinion, this leadership would be extremely effective in the United States today due to the fact that this leadership style is known to lead to positive changes in the people who follow. The current global recession has created a whirlwind of...