Leadership Paper: Richard Branson
Richard Branson has been practically a household name in the U.K. for the past 20 years and is also well respected in the business world. He is the founder of the Virgin Group, known for record labels, cellular phones, airlines, and many other business ventures. He is responsible for a $5 billion empire consisting of over 200 different companies around the world. (ICFAI, 2002) Branson is also known for his unique character and leadership styles, one who is not afraid to take risks, and believes that people are the foundation to his company's success. If I were to first characterize his leadership style I would say he is definitely a democratic leader. He truly feels that getting other peoples input and listening to what people have to say are a core value to him. He carries a notebook in his pocket all the time just in case he hears something interesting from people that he interacts with on any level. Whether it be an employee, friend, business partner or complete stranger, for him he knows that good ideas can come from anywhere and anytime. He has said before, "Virgin Group is an organization driven on informality and information, one that is bottom heavy rather then strangled by top level management", (Wikpedia) giving the impression that he listens to his people well below the management level. Branson will still ultimately make the top decision and loves to take high-risk decisions if in the end he feels it's worthwhile. He also stresses on the importance of being a regular guy and making your employees feel important. He feels that praise goes much farther than criticism and he likes to make sure his people that work with him are taken care of. One example of this was when he won a lawsuit against British Airlines and was awarded $500,000 he divided the compensation amongst his staff. (Wikpedia) Branson is a very natural born leader and shows all the characteristics of the leadership trait theory....
References: Wikpedia, Richard Branson, retrieved April 30th from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson
IFCAI, Richard Branson/Herb Kelleher - Leader Extraordinaire, retrieved April 30th from http://www.icmr.icfai.org/casestudies/catalogue/Leadership%20and%20Entrepreneurship/LDEN021.htm
Shepler, John, 1998, The Incredible Triumph of an Enigmatic Entrepreneur, retrieved May 1st from http://www.johnshepler.com/articles/branson.html
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