Key Elements of Richard Branson’s Leadership Style: Analysis
When it comes to defining the unique characteristics of Richard Branson’s leadership style, one must give him credit for being unbelievably innovative. Indeed, a closer look at the strategy adopted by him to manage the key processes at Virgin Group will reveal that he supports the concept of creative thinking and original ideas as the means of approaching business problems and the related concerns.
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Additionally, the leadership style adopted by Richard Branson seems to be rather loose. The flexibility, which the specified approach allows for, makes the foundation for the company’s success in the target market. It is important to make sure that the staff members and the company’s managers are provided with enough room for creativity in term of decision-making processes; therefore, the flexible approach that Richard Branson’s concept of leadership is founded on serves as the platform for the company to excel in the designated environment and to succeed in the global market.
Another characteristic feature of Richard Branson‘s leadership style, the emphasis on the communication issue deserves to be mentioned. As Branson puts it, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life” (Gallo, 2015, par. 1). Therefore, the choice of the communication strategy aimed at determining the emerging issues and addressing them in a manner as efficient and expeditious as possible can be deemed as the essential characteristics of the firm.
The Virgin Group and the Specifics of Richard Branson’s Leadership Style: Suggestions
It should be noted, though, that the leadership style adopted by the manager must be compatible with the specifics of a certain organization. In other words, the leadership approach chosen by Branson may have negative effects on the overall performance of the organization unless the unique characteristics of the latter are taken into account. For instance, the fact that the companies under the leadership of Branson require a set of clearer and more stringent guidelines deserves to be considered when shaping the leadership approach used by the head of the company.
Indeed, a closer look at the subject matter will reveal that Branson has faced major issues several times when attempting to expand his organization to a range of smaller companies. The latter failed miserably, therefore, leaving Branson to deal with huge expenses. The above-mentioned problem shows that the leadership strategy adopted by Branson does not qualify for managing small independent firms. In other words, the leader must consider the strategy that will enable the managers to make company-related decisions based on the unique circumstances and the characteristics of the environment that they operate in as opposed to the principles that the head company is run by.
Although the leadership approach undertaken by Branson can be deemed is very efficient in terms of creating a strong team of employees and delivering positive results as far as the production process is concerned, it does not seem to work for the affiliates, where decisions have to be made based on the characteristics of the local target audience and local resources. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that a laissez-faire leadership approach based on the idea of independent decision-making process should be integrated into the framework of the firm’s operations (Dwyer, 2012).
Two Ways for Richard Branson to Motivate Employees
Despite the existing issues regarding the company’s management, Branson manages to motivate the staff members quite sufficiently. Particularly, the staff satisfaction rates are rather high at the Virgin Group organization. Branson manages to retain the specified index at the required rate by making sure that the staff members can enjoy high security rates.
However, when it comes to identifying the employee satisfaction rates in an organization, one must admit that he staff’s satisfaction boils down to the ability to feel appreciated in the workplace (Laasch & Conaway, 2014). The specified emotion, however, is quite hard to attain unless the staff members feel that their opinions are valued. Herein the need to engage them in the decision-making process lies. The specified goal, however, becomes hardly attainable once the leadership approach adopted in the company does not involve the acceptance of the staff members opinions.
In other words, to enhance the staff satisfaction rates in the organization, Branson should consider changing the current leadership strategy so that the employees could have more room for choosing the appropriate steps for improving the company’s performance. In other words, the staff clearly lacks independence as far as their professional choices are concerned; as a result, they feel undervalued, which may trigger a rapid decline in their motivation.
Apart from the self-esteem issue and the staff’s vision of themselves as experts, the issue of incentives should be touched upon as an integral part of a motivation increase campaign. There is no need to stress that people need acknowledgment of their efforts and contribution to the company’s development to evolve as professionals. Therefore, to enhance the growth of the staff, Branson should consider introducing both financial and social incentives, including monetary rewards and oral acknowledgment of the employees’ accomplishments during meetings, conferences, etc. The specified approach goes hand in hand with the provision of independence to the staff members and is aimed at making sure that the employees could be able to develop on their own as opposed to being guided by their managers on a regular basis.
Effectiveness of Richard Branson’s Ability to Communicate Ideas
Branson has achieved impressive results as far as the communication processes in the organization are concerned. Despite the somewhat dubious leadership approach, the process of information transfer from one staff member to another, from a manager to a staff member and from the company to the target audience can be viewed as impeccable. The reasons for the communication strategy chosen by the company to work so well concern primarily the fact that the leader of the organization views the subject matter as the essential element of entrepreneurship’s functioning. According to Branson, communication is one of the pillars that the existence of a company lies on:
It’s also important not to neglect your internal customers – your employees and colleagues. “They are likely to generate your brand’s most influential ‘content’, so make sure you are also putting effort into developing or maintaining open internal communications,” Branson advises. (Clarkson, 2015, par. 8)
In other words, the company leader focuses on the efficacy of information transfer quite efficiently. As a result, the staff members work with the data that has been verified and updated correspondingly. Consequently, the employees know exactly what they are required to perform, and are perfectly aware of the current quality standards and the demands listed by the target audience.
Moreover, the communication approach designed by Branson serves as a perfect platform for managing conflicts in the organization. Particularly, the strategy adopted by the leader helps focus on not only managing the conflict but also deriving an essential lesson from it, which helps improve the current communication approach and avoid similar issues in the future.
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Criteria for Evaluating Richard Branson’s Leadership Style
Assessing the leadership style means taking a range of outcomes into account. Specifically, not only the performance of the firm but also the issues such as the efficacy of communication, the staff motivation rates, the level of customer satisfaction, and the decision-making efficacy needs to be taken into account. Therefore, the above-mentioned components must be included in the process of Branson’s leadership strategy evaluation. Based on the given elements, the current leadership approach can be deemed as fairly positive (Huber, 2013).
Richard Branson’s Success over the Next Five Years
Despite the current success of the approach adopted by Branson, it has to be altered in the future so that the company could adapt to the changing environment of the global economy. As it has been stressed above, the current strategy used by Branson could use some flexibility in terms of the decision-making process. In light of the fact that the global economy environment will require further expansion of the firm, the adoption of a more flexible approach such as the laissez-faire one and, therefore, more independence in decision-making for the staff members will be required.
Nevertheless, the basis for the company management, which Branson has been using for several years, seems quite valid at present. Therefore, the very foundation of the leadership approach that Branson views as the key to his company’s success does not need to be changed. Instead, minor alterations such as the above-mentioned independence issue and the inclusion of incentives into the firm’s HRM strategy have to be considered so that the Virgin Group Company could function successfully in the highly competitive environment of the global economy.
Clarkson, N. (2015). Richard Branson: How to make your customers work for your brand. Virgin Group. Web.
Dwyer, J. (2012). Communication for business and the professions: Strategies and skills. Melbourne: Pearson Higher Education AU.
Gallo, C. (2015). Richard Branson: ‘Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.’ Forbes. Web.
Huber, D. (2013). Leadership and nursing care management. Iowa City, Iowa: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Laasch, O., & Conaway, R. (2014). Principles of responsible management: Global sustainability, responsibility, and ethics. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.