“There are so many things going on around the world and only so many hours in the day. “- Richard Branson. Richard Branson is a well known entrepreneur who dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start his first business, and became a millionaire by the age of 24. He flies around the world in a balloon, breaks world records and likes dangerous stunts. He is an ultimate brand builder commonly associated with fun, adventure and success. He is a leader and driving force to around 250 companies, employing 8000 people around the world.
He began his business with unique student magazine and a small mail order record company; today his businesses ranging from planes and trains to credit cards and bridal gowns. Branson believes in keeping things simple and that people are the foundations for corporation’s success. ‘It took me years to work out the difference between net and gross,’ declares the man who has made ? 1bn with his Virgin Empire. ‘In meetings I just used to say ‘tell me if it’s good or bad news. ‘ Branson is fond of linking his business ventures to his own personal experience, bolstering his man of the people appeal.
His jumpers, balloon escapades and stunts such as launching Virgin Brides in full matrimonial drag mean it’s difficult to associate him with the boardroom. ( Guardian on-line, The Observer, Lucy Siegle, When looking at Branson’s history, it’s clear that he has used a different leadership styles throughout his carrier. According to Daft (2002), leadership involves influence, it occurs among people, those people intentionally desire significant changes, and the changes reflect purposes shared by leaders and followers.
The Virgin empire is one where the individual personality of Branson is stamped everywhere throughout the business, therefore, his values and goals are those which drive and permeate every element of the corporation. A review of transformational and charismatic leadership theories suggests that such leaders may achieve their impact by the creation of followers who personally identify with this style as well as with the work group they are with (Yukl, 1988). This personal identification with the leaders is due to his charismatic approach (Conger and Kanungo, 1998) and is based on referent power.
The culture that Branson created, in other words Branson’s way of doing business, it’s strongly influenced by his personality and his unique leadership style. He uses different leadership styles depending on the situation. He seems to be very flexible in his appearance in public. His staffs tend to be loyal and increasingly wealthy. Will Whitehorn, often described as Branson’s right-hand man, is very articulate about the company’s environmental ambitions. About his boss, he says: “He is ruthlessly capitalistic in business but socially communist and always has been.
He is unique. ” According to Mintzberg (2004), you earn leadership from those you lead. He suggests that leadership is about gaining the respect of those who work for you, something which Branson seemed to do a lot in his career. Transformational leaders are often equated with those who can adapt quickly to change (Bass, 1985). Branson clearly showed his flexibility and success in adapting to changing organisational cultures as he bought new businesses and moved into new sectors, bringing his people with him.
Bass and Avolio (1994) believe that transformational leaders behave in the ways that motivate and inspire those around them by providing meaning and challenge to their followers` work. Branson’s charismatic style of leadership is one that stems from a largely transformational approach to how he influences those in his organisation. He shows clear skills in his ability to read the emotions of others and to assess the mood of his own culture, while having tremendous skills in how he can adapt his style and approach to the particular situation or context he is in.
His drive and determination to succeed has been a key element of his success, something that stems from a combination of genetics and family circumstances. When analysing Branson’s leadership style determination seems to be a core trait. His authority is extended by his colourful and charismatic personality and attention grabbing behaviour, both of which increased his visibility and appeal to staff and the public. As a leader he influences his followers to identify with the group goals and values by connecting their individual concept with an organisational goal.
Branson’s drive and determination to succeed has been a key element of his success. “It has been like hitting up against a solid brick wall. All day and all night long, we battled to get through it. ” Richard Branson. References Bass, B. M. (1985) Leadership and Performance beyond Expectation. New York : Free Press. Bass, B. M. & Avolio, B. J. (1994) Improving Organizational Effectiveness Through Transformational Leadership. London: Sage Publications. Bertocci, D. I. 2009) Leadership in Organization, There Is a Difference between Leaders and Managers. Plymouth: University Press of America. Bryman,A. (1992) Charisma & Leadership in Organisations. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Daft, R. L. (2008) The Leadership Experience. 4th edn. Ohio: Thompson South Western. BBC News Online (2004). Available at: http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/uk/3693588. stm (Accessed: 11 April 2011). Siegle, L. (2002) Finance Innovator: Richard Branson, The Observer, 31 March. Mintzberg, H. (2004).
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