The Importance of Leadership It is the belief of many that leadership is the vehicle or direction to both positive and negative change. In fact, leadership often determines the success and/or failure of any organization, whether it be in business, education, religion, government organizations, and society in general.
Clear evidence of this is seen in the recent-American Airlines’ woes, the closing of troubled schools across the nation, the public-scandal surrounding Enron Corporation, the positive impact of the Christian community by renowned-evangelist Billy Graham, the devastating-financial crisis of 2008, the re-election of President Barack Obama, and others. With this perspective firmly in mind, and in context of the case study surrounding Sir Richard Branson and his leadership style, this paper seeks to discuss the leadership models addressed in chapters 10 and 11.
It will also propose a different leadership style that would enhance Branson’s leadership prowess. Further, it will talk about a few strategies that Branson can employ to develop and lead a global team working on a major project. Lastly, it will discuss some of Branson’s leadership qualities and their personal and contemporary applications. Branson’s Leadership Style Illustrated in Chapters 10 and 11 Models Based on the substantial amount of evidence presented in the text, Branson has proved himself to be an effective leader because of his vision, operating philosophy, charisma or appealing influence, and financial success.
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Much of Mr. Branson’s influence and success has been attributed to his direct-business involvement. Therefore, as illustrated in chapters 10 and 11, Sir Richard Branson’s leadership style is participative. To give emphasis on such revelation, Richard Branson is the Chairman of Virgin Group Limited (Ltd). He operates multinational entities that include air travel, financial services, and retail stores. Also, scores of people work for him. But regardless of the scope of Mr.
Branson’s responsibility and work demands; he allocates a great deal of time time to be personally involved with the day-to-day operations of the organization. Moreover, he actively listens to the concerns of his staff and customers in order to generate feedback and capture new ideas. To add to this, Branson’s personal involvement and participating leadership style has also reflected in his business approach and priority. For example, employees and customers are an integral part of his business culture.
For this reason, employees are ranked first, customers second, and shareholders last (p. 344). The rationale behind such approach is this—if employees are recognized and feel appreciated, the level of customer satisfaction becomes high, and therefore return on investment (RO1) is realized or positive. In addition to Branson’s personal involvement and participating leadership style, he surrounds himself with a diverse group of people so as to reflect the company’s core beliefs, values, and desired outcomes.
To add credence to this idea, in his book entitled, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, (Maxwell, 1998, p. 110) remarked: “Every leader’s potential is determined by people closer to him. ” In other words, leaders can make a significant difference when they associate themselves with competent people, as in the case of Richard Branson. More emphasis on this point will be discussed later on. Another leadership style that reflects Richard Branson is transformational leadership.
According to the text, 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” (Hellriegel & Slocum Jr, 2011, p. 329). The above perspective certainly captures and encapsulates Branson’s leadership style—because he persuades many to buy into his inspiring messages. As a result, many have become committed and in this manner are being rewarded.
Also, Branson impacts the business community and a large scale. Further, he develops future leaders and entrepreneurs. Developing future leaders and entrepreneurs is essential and it at the core of transformational leadership. An insight of such truth has been noted by the authors (Anthony, M. J. , & Estep Jr. , J. 2005, p. 298), “Leaders are at their very best when they are raising leaders around them. ” In addition to Branson’s transformational leadership style, his business approach is revolutionary.
Undeniable evidence of this is seen in the amount and variety of businesses he operates as well as the company’s impressive-annual net sales—$20 billion (p. 344). To add to this, Branson’s hiring practice is also unconventional. That is, he generally hires people with “strong communication and teamwork competencies that mesh with the Virgin culture. ” Such practice helps Branson to be a better leader, which in turn strengthens the organization and its bottom line. So in brief, Branson’s leadership style in terms of leadership models as presented thus far is participative and transformational.
Suggestive Leadership Style to Enhance Branson’s Effectiveness Even though Sir Richard Branson’s leadership style is participative and transformational, his approach and behavior on a few instances is paradoxical. To illustrate, Virgin Group experienced massive losses ($20 million) in a couple of business ventures—because Branson ignored prudent counsel from “his top management advice” as well as other critical-business measures. It is the opinion of many that transformational leaders have a tendency to be arrogant and even ignored vital signals around them due to their intellectual inspiration and unchallenged purposes.
Such beahvior sometimes produced negative results. An example of this is seen in the horrific genocides or atrocities of the former-dictator Adolf Hitler. Therefore, by way of suggestion, Branson ought to add facilitate leadership style to his leadership competency. An insight on facilitate leadership style has been provided by the text: “The leader presents the problem to the team in a meeting, acts as a facilitator, defines the problem to be solved, and sets boundaries within which the decision must be made” (p. 308).
This leadership style is certainly advantageous for Branson in a number of ways. For example, as chairman of large groups of companies, Branson must not have a stake in every decision. Simply because such beahvior is perceived to be controlling, and the end results can be detrimental or costly as presented in the above example. In light of this, staff members must be empowered and heavily involved in the decision-making process of the organization. As a result, the flow of effective communication would improve, employee productivity would elevate, and the financial health of the organization.
Strategies Branson can Employ to Develop and Lead Major Project In today’s ever-changing environment, there is no denying that Sir Richard Branson is a risk taker and he is not afraid of failure. Moreover, his track record and business credentials qualify him to supervise any major projects. So by determining how Branson would develop and lead a global team working on a major project, the following strategic steps ought be employed or activated: (1) choose a research committee or advisory team and oversee it. 2) Empower committee or advisory team to select a diverse group of individuals so as to generate pertinent and creative ideas and thus improve the project. (3) Assess or calculate risk factors and outcomes surrounding the project. (4) Adhere to sound business and management principles. (5) Have an open mindset especially to internal and external change or resistance. (6) Invest a large sum of money on the continued development and research of the project and provide monetary and motivational rewards for research team. 7) Maintain good-internal communication and public relations. (8) Establish effective-feedback mechanisms so as to receive progress reports, and make change/s if necessary. Strict adherence and execution to the aforementioned steps will most likely enable Branson to develop and lead a global team working on a major project. Branson’s leadership qualities and their personal and contemporary applications Within the business world, Sir Richard Branson has definitely experienced much financial success and setbacks. A commentary on this point has been noted by (Scott, 2010, p. 5), “There’s another side to Branson—the relentless work ethic, the failed companies, and tough times, but people generally don’t want to hear it. ” Such experienced has helped to strengthen Virgin Group Ltd. and set Richard Branson apart in a profound way, and even add to his leadership qualifies. Additionally, Branson’s extraordinary business approach and entrepreneur competencies also complement his leadership qualities. Therefore, drawing on Branson’s leadership qualities, the writer would seek to emulate his unconventional business approach and strong work ethic, especially in today’s business environment and practices.
In so doing, the writer’s life would be personally and professionally enriched, and thereby making a positive contribution to society in general. By further drawing on Branson’s leadership qualities, social responsibility would be imitated by the writer. In support of this, “Branson pledged as much as $3 billion during the next 10 years (through 2017) to tackle global warning” (p. 344). Being socially responsible is commendable and even beneficial. To illustrate, it can attract investors, promote business growth, and help the physical environment.
To further mimic Branson’s leadership qualities, the writer would draw on his visionary approach so as positively impact humankind on a whole. It has been well said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 King James Version). Other leadership qualities that are worth emulating from Branson are: being an attentive listener, creating an informal environment to address and resolve problems. These qualities are so needed in today’s society, considering that people are often ignored, afflicted, and exploited.
As passionately argued throughout this paper, leadership is essential because it can make or mar the direction or success of any organization. More than ever, participative and transformational leadership qualities are needed. Such leadership attributes have aided Sir Richard Branson to develop unique business concepts and establish hundreds of business entities across the globe. In actual fact, they have helped him to gain much financial success. As a result, he has and continues to influence many individuals of all ways of life and spearheads many undertakings.
References Anthony, M. J. , & Estep Jr. , J. (2005). Management Essentials for Christian Ministries. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers. Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum Jr, J. W. (2011). Organizational Behavior (13 ed. ). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. Maxwell, J. C. (September 18, 1998). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Thomas Nelson Publishers Scott, P. (2010). The Wisdom of Branson. Herald Sun (Melbourne), (), 85. Retrieved on November 26, 2012, from http://www. ebscohost. com
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