Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group, Ltd. Case Study Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group, Ltd. Case Study By: Katrina Robinson Bus520 Leadership and Organizational Dr. Leonardo Serrano Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group, Ltd. Case Study Outline the Leadership Style of Branson and its effectiveness to the U. S today Richard Branson and Effective Leadership Incorporation of Branson’s Leadership at School or Work. The Leadership Style of Branson and its effectiveness to the U.
S today Richard Branson, the chairman and CEO of the Virgin Group has come up with a type of leadership centered on employees. He has embraced transformational leadership model as a style of leadership. Transformational leadership is a leadership style that focused on effecting revolutionary change in organizations through a commitment to the organization’s vision. Transformational leadership includes engendering trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect amongst followers through application of charismatic vision and behavior.
Transformational leadership encourages change through intellectual stimulation aimed at self-reflective change of values and beliefs. Vision is critical for transformational leadership because employees are more comfortable when they understand the vision and direction of the company going forward. Transformational leadership impacts individuals' self-growth. Transformational leadership develops followers who can perform beyond their own and others' expectations.
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Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. Transformational leadership focuses on social values and appears in times of distress and change. Sir Richard Branson has empowered his employees to attain a given vision of the company. This has led to the rise in productivity and the morale of the worker.
It has also increased utility and the wide professional and individual growth of the company. Sir Richard Branson is an iconic and legendary figure within business circles. His Virgin companies p the globe, while his thirst for brand domination and sense of adventure tell a story of an intriguing and thought provoking life sprinkled with danger, high risk tactics, pushing the boundaries of the possible and an encompassing purpose that is built upon fairness and change. In terms of leadership model addressed in Chapter 10 and 11, Branson exemplifies a transformational leader.
Transformational leadership involves anticipating future trends, inspiring 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 rewarded learners. Visionary, inspiring, daring, and ethical are words that describe transformational leaders. They are risk takers who seize or create new opportunities. They are also thoughtful thinkers who understand the interactions of technology, culture, stakeholders, and external environmental forces (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011, page 329).
He is not as much concerned about industry-specific expertise as he is with recruiting employees with strong communication and teamwork competencies that mesh with the Virgin culture. 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. He loves to take high-risk decisions if in the end he feels it's worthwhile. According to the authors, passion is essential for task accomplishment.
Passion is often more present in entrepreneurial leaders and Sir Richard Branson should be regarded as a passionate leader. On the Virgin group website (5) the company mentions “giving birth” to companies and “holding their hand” through the organizational development. This is by all means a supportive standpoint, far away from the quarterly run businesses of many. An example of his courage might be when he under heavy competition in the US decided to sell out Virgin Records to save the financials of Virgin Atlantic.
In that deal he also decided to switch bank due to poor support and advice for Virginia Records. An example of Branson’s willingness to take risk is his venture into space tourism with Virgin Galactic. That business is by no doubt regarded as extremely courageous and risky but at the same time driven by the same reasons as any other business, profit. Branson has worked closely with Scaled Composites to develop a tourism spacecraft (9). As he puts it, it was a very risky act that could have gone totally wrong (10), (13).
However Branson is not a stranger to risk management, according to an article in Time (6). He commonly starts out small and shares the risk with other investors. His companies are also loosely connected according to the article, to minimize risk for each party. Richard Branson’s ventures portray creativity, venturing into airliners using new creative measures such as touch-screen ordering of food and comfortable planes. This comes in an era where most other airliners are figuring out how to remove the last remaining frills to cut costs.
Another developed skill is the possibility of delegating work to his colleagues and management staff and taking a step back. He spends a lot of time in the early days of a new business, drawing the big picture and helping the management setting the business plan and the way forward. When this is done he takes a step back and lets the management get a stake in the business and drive it forward. ”The company must be set up so that it can continue without me”. Sir Richard is very thorough in hiring the right people. He is known for bringing in good managers and getting them to stay.
If they don’t perform at an existing assignment he brings them into another venture where the person is more likely to perform according to his capabilities. ”Look for the best and you’ll get the best”, is his words. Firing people is seldom an option to Sir Richard. This situational leadership model would combine both directive and supportive behaviors. Directive behavior would influence the culture by explaining what needed to be done; helping to organize the how, where, and when of getting it done, and ensuring a more hands on approach to the tactical nature of the plan.
Supportive leadership, in combination, would provide both encouragement and coaching, and would act to facilitate problem solving and the large amount of issues that require change management. Both approaches could be used by Virgin, some more often than others, but would be a variable model of directive (high and low) depending on the particular situation at hand. Essentially, this style chooses the right leadership style for the right person – and varies depending upon that individual’s ifts, views, background, and personality (The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory, 2012) If this model were adopted by Branson, he would have both the responsibility and ethical requirement to continually assess situations at hand, find the most appropriate placement on the above grid for that issue, and then act accordingly. Of course, at his level the “issues” would likely remain strategic and rather broad, and it would not always be possible to “never” direct change, or “always” direct change.
Instead, it would be the appropriateness of individual situations and people that would place this model into Virgin’s strategic and tactical locus of operation (Farrington, 2012). Let us imagine for a moment that the technology has improved enough in aeronautics and space travel that it is possible to develop regular trips to a Space Station, or, at the very least, a launch and trip on a shuttle that would orbit the earth and allow passengers to experience space, a view of the planet, and an educational experience. It is quite natural to assume that the Virgin group might be seminal in the development of this type of new tourist activity.
The easiest way to integrate some of Branson’s leadership qualities into the daily job would be to first and foremost examine the job and find the most exciting possibilities and potential for it and then to communicate that to colleagues, staff, and management. If in a managerial position, allow employees to come up with creative solutions to problems meet as a group and indicate a goal or challenge, ask for ideas, and then take some time to consider them, allowing employees to participate in this effort and help them feel empowered and part of the team.
Part of being a good leader, according to Branson, is also the ability to know when to back away from a task. “As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation,” he says. “I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me. ” In my opinion, the most important factor of good leadership is relating to other people. If you’re good with people…and you really care, genuinely care about people”. Leadership teams are generally composed of management brought together to p the boundaries between different functions in the organization. In order for a product to be delivered to market, the heads of finance, production, and marketing must interact and come up with a common strategy for the product. At top management levels, teams are used in developing goals and a strategic direction for the firm as a whole. Technology is impacting how teams meet and function.
Collaborative software and conferencing systems have improved the ability for employees to meet, conduct business, share documents, and make decisions without ever being in the same location. While the basic dynamics of other types of teams may still be relevant, the dynamics and management of virtual teams can be very different. Most theories view leadership as grounded in one or more of the following three perspectives: leadership as a process or relationship, leadership as a combination of traits or personality characteristics, or leadership as certain behaviors or, as they are more commonly referred to, leadership skills.
In virtually all of the more dominant theories there exist the notions that, at least to some degree, leadership is a process that involves influence with a group of people toward the realization of goals. I will say on the front end that, in my opinion, leadership is a dynamic and complex process, and that much of what is written these days tends to over-simplify this process. Trait theory postulates that people are either born or not born with the qualities that predispose them to success in leadership roles.
Skills theory states that learned knowledge and acquired skills/abilities are significant factors in the practice of effective leadership. Situational theory states that is, to be effective in leadership requires the ability to adapt or adjust one’s style to the circumstances of the situation. Contingency theory states that a leader’s effectiveness is contingent on how well the leader’s style matches a specific setting or situation.
The underlying beliefs of path-goal theory (grounded in expectancy theory) are that people will be more focused and motivated if they believe they are capable of high performance, believe their effort will result. The key in transformational leadership is for the leader to be attentive to the needs and motives of followers in an attempt to help them reach their maximum. Transactional theory is a theory that focuses on the exchanges that take place between leaders and followers.
It is based in the notion that a leader’s job is to create structures that make it abundantly clear what is expected of his/her followers and also the consequences (i. e. rewards and punishments) for meeting or not meeting these expectations. References Hellriegel, D. , ; Slocum, J. (2007). Organizational Behavior. Mason, OH: Thompson Higher People and Planet. (2012, January). Retrieved from Virgin. com: http://www. virgin. com/people-and-planet/our-vision The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory. (2012, January). Retrieved from Mind Tools: http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newLDR_44. htm
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S today Richard Branson, the chairman and CEO of the Virgin Group has come up with a type of leadership centered on employees.
An example of Branson’s willingness to take risk is his venture into space tourism with Virgin Galactic. That business is by no doubt regarded as extremely courageous and risky but at the same time driven by the same reasons as any other business, profit. Branson has worked closely with Scaled Composites to develop a tourism spacecraft (9).
The key to encouraging innovation within the Virgin ranks, suggests Branson, is to listen to any and all ideas and to offer feedback. Employees often leave companies, he reasons, because they are frustrated by the fact that their ideas fall on deaf ears.
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