Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group

May 3, 2018 Philosophy

He gladly admits his mistakes, but views them all as a learning experience. Sir Branson feels his success is in the people he employees and their mutual desire to please the customers and the stockholders of the organization. Branson’s leadership style Sir Richard Branson’s leadership style reminds me of transformational leadership. This type of leader anticipates future trends, develops future leaders, inspires others of their future possibilities and builds an organization or group into a community of challenged and rewarded learners (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).

Transformational leaders are mindful of future trends and how they will relate to the environment, the organization and stockholders. This form of leadership style consists of four components which are individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence. Individualized consideration is when the leader acts as a mentor or coach, listens to the employees concerns and attending to their needs. Employees are encouraged to have open communication with the leader.

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For example, Branson goes to various locations within the organization with his pen and notebook to make sure he is keeping track of any issues that need immediate action concerning staff and customers. He also maintains an open door policy for employees to send emails concerning any issues they are experiencing. He reads his messages first thing every morning and takes action to resolve the issues. Intellectual Stimulation is the ideas and risk the leader is willing to take by thinking outside the box. The leader encourages new ideas and more creative ways of doing things.

This type of leader feels that risk taking is necessary for an organization’s success. For example, Branson tried to compete against Coca-Cola by selling Virgin Cola in the United Kingdom. But Coca-Cola sent a SWAT team to systematically sabotage Virgin Cola. Virgin Cola was not the success Branson had hoped for in the United Kingdom, but did become the number one cola in Bangladesh. Sir Branson feels one should never be afraid to try something new and if you experience setbacks you get up dust yourself off and try again. Inspirational motivation is when employees are aspired with new visionary ideas.

The leader challenges and motivates staff to strive for excellence in every aspect of the organization. Branson is a firm believer that his company would not have grown to the conglomerate it is without the employees. He prides himself in recruiting employees with strong communications skills and is good motivators and team players. His executives strive to inspire their employees to devote the attention to serving the customer and stockholders. With idealized influence, the leader exhibit charismatic ways to influence employees to identify with him or her.

Usually there is a great deal of respect and admiration for the leader. The leader makes it a point to connect with employees to build trust and influence employees to perform well by giving incentives and rewards. For example, Branson believes in hard work and dedication in employees he is a firm believer in promoting within the organization. Sir Branson also exhibits authentic leadership as a person who know themselves, what they believe and value and believes in open and honest communication in their staff and others.

Authentic leaders are optimistic, strong problem solvers and encourage this in their executives. They instill self-esteem and create hope in the goals they set for the organization. Recommendation of leadership style Sir Branson has proven to be an extraordinary leader, but he could also display effective leadership by using situational leadership. Situational Theories propose the leaders chose the best course of action based upon situational variables (Cherry, 2012). For example in a situation where the leader is the most experienced member of a group the authoritarian style may be most appropriate.

Situational leadership matches the levels of readiness of the employee, this form of leadership implementing task and relationship behavior (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Task behavior is a one way communication which gives employees clear instructions of how to do their job, this improves organizational effectives. Relationship behavior is the use of two way communications to encourage decision making and give emotional support by listening. This will empower the confidence in an employee to consider taking advancement risk in themselves.

The four leadership styles are telling, selling, participating and delegating. These styles are a combination of different amounts of task and relationship behavior. Telling style provides instruction and supervises an employee on how to do their work. Selling style gives direction encouraging a two way communication to build confidence and motivate the employee. Participating style encourages employees to share ideas and encourage other coworkers. Delegating style the leader passes down the responsibility of the decision making to executives or supervisors in the organization.

Implementing these various types of leadership on appropriate levels would be ideal for a department that has had employees working in the same department for a number of years. They may have become bored with their current position. The employees could learn to cross train to various positions; this could promote self confidence and a desire to advance. Developing and leading a global team A global team consists of a group of people from various countries that are separated by distance, time, culture and language (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).

The majority of their work is done as a virtual team. The following are four principle reasons for a global team. One is to provide goods and services to various countries with very little customization. An example of this would be Apple implementing a global team to market their electronics overseas. The second is to provide goods and services that meet the unique needs of local markets or stores. For example, Utz potato chips being sold in local stores in China. The team could provide insight on the market in China and research in what areas the chips would sell.

Third global teams allow companies to capitalize on expertise in different countries. This eliminates the need to relocate staff to another country and later find out this is not the market for their product. Four global teams are used by organization for the distribution and inventory facilities and marketing units in various locations. Global teams conduct meetings as a virtual team. Virtual teams hold their meetings through various forms of technologies in more than one location without face to face contact. There are several benefits to virtual meetings.

One is the ability to work anywhere or anytime, a person is able to work from home. Second a staff member with a handicap is able to attend a meeting without commuting to the location. Third a leader has the benefit of selecting top executives for the team without having them to relocate for a period of time. And fourth there is not cost for airfare, lodging and leasing cars for out of town stay. Examples of technology used for virtual teams are e-mails, phone, internet/intranet systems, videoconferencing systems and voice mails.

It would be ideal for Branson to have the team meet face to face once it is established to define the goals and responsibilities of the team. If the team will operate long term it is ideal for the team to meet face to face quarterly. The team should also discuss the deadlines of the project. The face to face meeting is necessary for the group to become acquitted and to get comfortable with one another. Global leaders must rely on each other more because in a foreign environment they lack the local knowledge or skills they have in their country (“What is Global”, n. d. ).

This is a good time to select a team leader if one will be selected and establish how this person should handle information, issues and conflicts among team members. Incorporation of Branson’s leadership qualities I would incorporate Sir Branson’s philosophy on taking risk to implement new trends for the organization. I would want to instill Sir Branson’s optimism and ability of not dwelling on setbacks, viewing them as a learning experience and not the end of the organization as an innovator. It is important to continue to move forward. I agree with Sir Branson that a company’s success resides in the people you employ.

I would strive to acquire individuals with excellent people and communication skills and insure they hold the same philosophy I have of the employee being first, next the customer and then the stockholders. I want to hire those who are goal oriented that will be motivators and inspire staffers. Like Sir Branson I would work to establish a good form of communication with staff and make it clear they can come to me with any issues of concern they have in reference to their position or the organization. I would implement programs that encourage cross training and promoting within the organization.

This encourages an employee to set personal goals for themselves. Conclusion In conclusion, Sir Richard Branson is one of the most effective leaders I have seen. He runs a successful corporation with strong core values. He enjoys what he does and does not take anything for granted. He feels the minute it has things less seriously his company would be at risk. The thing I admire most about Sir Branson is how he has stayed humble over the years. Regardless of the amount of money he as made. He also realizes we all must do want we can for the environment. He uses profits from his airlines and Rail Company to invest in developing a cleaner source of energy for the future.


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