Assignment 4: Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group, Ltd. Case Study Mysherri Rhodes Instructor: Bess White Bus 520: Leadership and Organization February 25, 2012 Describe Branson’s leadership style in terms of the leadership models addressed in Chapters 10 and 11 and evaluate the likely effectiveness of that style in the U. S. today. Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd. , has created a multi-billion dollar enterprise, which includes: airlines, records, bridal wear, holidays, vodka, cars, bank accounts, mobile phones, cosmetics, condoms and gyms (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).
The Virgin Group is a globally recognized brand that has approximately 50,000 employees and earns more than $20 billion in sales annually (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Sir Richard Branson is known to be one of the greatest entrepreneurs and with that consumers can expect more unique creations from Sir Richard Branson (Boje & Smith, 2012). In order for a business to acquire and maintain such exponential growth, a company must have an effective leader.
According to Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), Branson is a genuine strategist who thinks outside the box and he has achieved many great things despite some setbacks throughout the years. Branson anticipates future trends, inspiring followers to understand and embrace a new vision of possibilities. He develops others to be leaders or better leaders; that’s what makes him a transformational leader (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Sir Richard Branson, has a philosophy that is centered on finding people with strong communication and teamwork skills that can be integrated into Virgin Group culture.
Once the proper employees are hired, Virgin Group continues the employee’s professional development, allowing the company to promote existing employees. Branson’s philosophy enables him to develop new leaders, which are able to foresee the company’s future and embrace new visions. Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), also say that transformational leaders are risk takers and welcome new opportunities. Sir Richard Branson states that it is impossible to run a business without taking risks, and he is no stranger to doing so (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).
Branson publicly admits to three tremendous setbacks: a) the launch of a portable MP3 player (the Virgin Pulse) was crushed by the Apple iPod and lost over $20 million; b) against top management advice, Branson held on to Virgin’s Megastore retail outlets far too long, costing the group financially when the megastores were finally sold; c) Branson created Virgin Cola as an attempt to enter the United Kingdom’s Coca-Cola territory, but Coca-Cola crushed that effort.
The Virgin Group has experienced its fair share of failures but that has never stopped Branson from looking for new opportunities. Because of these attributes, Branson is a great transformational leader and is a perfect fit in today’s world. The world is constantly evolving from the old into the new, and this constant change creates the need for companies to adapt accordingly. Based on constant change a company must be able to adapt accordingly. Transformational leadership is such a great asset to today’s world because its leaders are true visionaries.
For instance, to his colleagues Branson is known as Dr. Yes because he finds it hard to say no to new ideas and proposals. Being open to new ideas and proposals sets Virgin Groups apart from other companies because they are never afraid to try venture into new areas. Virgin Group prides itself on doing things in an innovative way while aspiring to provide quality services (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Visionaries are key to the evolution of today’s world and are important to the generations of the future.
Recommend a different leadership style (or combination of styles) that would make Branson an even more effective leader. Transformational and transactional leadership are two of the most popular approaches to leading a businesses (Sadeghi & Pihie, 2012). Branson’s keen sense of transformational leadership is great for Virgin Group but could be more effective when combined other leadership styles such as transactional leadership. Transactional leadership is considered a great second style to work in synergy with transformational leadership.
Transactional leadership focuses on the interaction and motivation that occur between a leader and his or her followers (Sadeghi & Pihie, 2012). Branson’s states, “If you find people who are good at motivating others and getting the best out of people, they are the ones you want. There are plenty of so-called experts, but not as many motivators of people” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011; p 344). Branson’s belief in motivating his employees demonstrates his belief in transactional leadership and is an incontestable method ensuring that Virgin Group uses the correct leadership path.
Motivating employees is a great way to initiate great leadership but here are some other components of transactional leadership that should be considered: a) transactional leadership provides contingent rewards, which includes leaders setting measurable goals to obtain that are clear and concise; b) it exhibits active management by monitoring work performance of employees and enforcing rules to prevent mistakes; c) it emphasizes that enforced rules are not to be broken and unacceptable performance will result in corrective actions (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).
Determine how Branson would develop and lead a global team working on a major project (e. g. , space tourism) Americans have witnessed the continuous development of the world for decades and Sir Richard Branson has been a part of American history. Branson has continued to push the envelope year after year, and is familiar with the leadership styles that are necessary for leading a global team working on a major project. Branson spoke out, stating that carbon damaging the world is what is causing global warming.
As a result, Branson recently pledged to give as much as $3 billion over the next ten years to tackle global warming. The funding for the global warming project will be given from Branson’s personal revenue from his airlines and rail company (Hellriegell & Slocume, 2011). Branson’s states: “We must not be the generation responsible for irreversibly damaging the environment” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). In order for Branson to develop and lead a global team for global warming, he must use the core components associated with transformational leadership.
According Hellriegel & Slocum (2011; p 330), “the core components are individual consideration: refer to the leaders to anticipate the followers’ needs, perform as a mentor, and listen to the followers’ needs”. Next, Branson needs to intellectually stimulate his team by encouraging them to think outside the box and to not be afraid to take a risk. Then there are inspirational motivations, which is a concept pertaining to leaders creating a vision for the employees to follow.
Last but not least is idealized influence which refers to the leader acting in a charismatic way to uplift employees and inspire them (Kirkpartrick & Locke, 1996). Branson has stated on numerous occasions that he treats his employees like human beings, which allows him to anticipate his employees’ needs. Branson also feels that an entrepreneur will only succeed if he or she is surrounded by good people and are able to listen to their advice. Because Branson is open to advice he has innately displayed individual consideration.
As a leader Branson has always provided attention to the employee’s needs for growth, encouraged individuals to embrace creativity, and placed an emphasis on innovation. Early in Branson’s career he developed a habit of actively reading emails from his employees. Once the email are read, he then responds to employees’ concerns and ideas personally. There has been instances where employees have presented innovative ideas for the company’s future that Branson has implemented, which demonstrates an intellectual stimulation outcome and encourages this behavior in the future.
As I stated above, Branson has a vision that involves improving global warming. Branson’s plan to address the problem is by setting up a carbon war room to strategize reducing the carbon output of companies without damaging the company’s profitability. Setting a vision and creating a plan is a great method for providing inspirational motives for individuals. Historically, Branson is well known for his ability to inspire his team, which results in an ideal work environment. Discuss how you can incorporate some of Branson’s leadership qualities into your role at work or school.
Sir Richard Branson is an extraordinary individual and worthy of businesses mimicking his leadership style. Branson’s leadership styles includes, but are not limited to: honing in on one’s ability to become a true visionary, taking risk, and providing quality. Branson states that he listens to all new ideals and proposals but ultimately makes decisions based on his intuition (Branson, 2012). One could practice becoming a visionary into their work or school environment by taking an in depth look at a new ideas or roposals and trusting their intuition. Implementing an environment for visionaries allows individuals to bring forth ideas that other individuals may have difficulty visualizing. This method also encourages individuals to speak up and voice their opinions. The next quality that a leader must possess is risk taking. It is impossible for a business to run without taking risks. “Virgin would not be the company it is today if risks had not been taken” (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011; p 344).
In order for a manager to be successful there has to be some degree of risk taking and one could start by thinking out of the box (Hanna & Klein, 2011). This could take place by setting aside time for the team to meet, discuss, and implement new ideas that involve more risk. Another one of Branson’s attributes for leadership is to provide quality service to his clientele. According to Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), Branson prides himself on his ability to provide quality services to consumers in areas where other companies may not.
As a manager, one could raise the bar through implementing higher standards for quality service. This could, as a result, increase the clientele and loyalty to the company. References Boje, D. , & Smith, R. (2010). Re-storying and visualizing the changing entrepreneurial identities of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Culture & Organization, 16(4), 307-331. doi:10. 1080/14759551003769250 Branson, R. (2012). Sir Audcity. Inc, 34(9), 72-73. Hanna, J. , & Klein, D. S. (2011). Sir Richard Branson: Great Brands, Virgin Brands, Branson Brands.
Smart Business Orange County, 6(5), 10-11. Hellriegel, D. , & Slocum, J. W. , Jr. (2011). Organizational Behavior 13th ed. ). Mason, OH: Cengage (Learning) Kirkpatrick, S. A. , & Locke, E. A. (1996). Direct and Indirect Effects of Three Core Charismatic Leadership Components on Performance and Attitudes. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 81(1), 36-51. Sadeghi, A. , & Pihie, Z. (2012). Transformational Leadership and Its Predictive Effects on Leadership Effectiveness. International Journal Of Business & Social Science, 3(7), 186-197.
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