Example Of Essay On Leadership Style & Characteristics Of Richard Branson

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Workplace, Company, Employee, Chastity, Community, Vision, Management, Leadership

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/18



Richard Branson is one of Britain's billionaires and the founder of brand Virgin which is a parent company to several businesses from record label to airlines. Richard Branson is the sixth richest citizen of UK with an estimated worth of US$4.6 billion.
Virgin made its debut in 1970s as a record selling business giving a hard competition to the high profile retailers. The name “Virgin” originated from the very fact that the company and Richard Branson, the owner of the company were new and virgin in the industry. In 1973 the famous Virgin Records label was introduced and signed contracts with various music superstars including the Smashing Pumpkins, Mike Oldfield and Janet Jackson. With every year the brand “Virgin” kept expanding with Virgin Airlines, Virgin radio, Virgin Mobile and more recent startups Virgin Galactic, Virgin Money and The Virgin Active UK gym chain.
Though not every business under the brand was a hit but the growth of the brand reflected the personality of Richard Branson. Richard Branson is considered to be insurgent, ready to fail and fall but not stop. Every business he started was customer centric and aimed to amuse and give something better to the customers.
This paper discusses the leadership style of Richard Branson and focuses on the characteristics he portrayed that has led the brand expand and glorify in a short time.

Early life of Richard Branson

Richard Branson suffered from dyslexia and struggled through the school most of his early year. He dropped out of the school eventually at 16 years of age. His entrepreneurial skills were prominent from the start, as right after leaving school he started a magazine titled “Student” that managed to sell $8000 worth of advertising its first edition in 1966.
The ventures started by Richard Branson all signify one quality of Branson and that was his instincts of an opportunist and correct timing. As right after this magazine he identified the opportunities in the record sales and record label industry as 1970s was the most happening era in music industry.

Vision Group & Richard Branson’s Leadership

All through the building and expansion of Virgin group, Richard Branson made quick and challenging decision regarding the business that most of his colleagues often regarded as outrageous but his capability to take those bold steps resulted in the growth of Virgin group to200c companies across continents and take over giants like British Airways while give nightmares to companies like Coca Cola with their daring efforts.
Despite his instinctive and prompt decisions regarding the business, his team followed him and shared his vision with the same passion. According to Richard Branson, he considered his team to be his most important asset. He picked his team with thorough consideration for the best characteristics and expertise and once surrounded with the right people he strived to put their expertise for the betterment of the company. According to him, while hiring the talent he looks to find employees who can complement his personality, by having strengths in areas where Branson lacks. Additionally, most of the employees on top and management levels are promoted from within the company to ensure a positivity in the company. When people realize their growth path, they make more efforts to escalate.
In order to keep the employees motivated and thrilled Richard Branson worked with them at different levels to give them something intriguing to work on to grow their expertise and strengths. He even encouraged them to join other companies in the group to enhance their profiles. This has worked in the favor of the company as the employees realize how important the company makes them feel and how can they improve their profiles drastically within the company.
Most employees change companies only when they feel that they cannot add anything to the company and their career has reached a stagnant position. On the other hand, as in the case of Virgin Group if the employee has various growth opportunities within the company and is identified for their efforts they are more likely to stick with their company.
The values and vision of the company are based on standing out from the crowd. The company has always been a rule breaker and a virgin in every new venture that they have started. Richard Branson has made efforts to keep that value alive by encouraging his employees to find challenging endeavors and always choose the road less travelled. The company in addition to the startups and ventures regularly hold events to payback to community that also lets the management and employees to connect with each other at more personal level.
The motivation strategies of Richard Branson are not specifically financial incentive related unlike what majority of business owners believe. According to a survey by Mckinsey as shown in the chart below proves that appreciation, realization of efforts and attention from the top management as in the case of Virgin Group is more probable to motivate and retain employees rather that only providing a handsome salary package.
Figure 1 Factors for employee motivation,
Any company that aims to create an employee friendly environment can implement these strategies to value their employees more than just their job. Making them believe to be a part of the company and understanding their career growth is the key to making the emotional connections between the top management and the employees.
While it is important to value employees as an individual and provide them the right opportunities within the company to grow and excel. However it is equally important that the employees understand the corporate goals and vision and understand their roles to achieve those goals.
In order to communicate the corporate vision effectively it is important to synchronize them with the vision and goals of the employees. Richard Branson did just that. He exemplified with his ventures how adventurism and challenges can bring success to him and his employees followed his footsteps. To equip them to follow him, he challenged them with outlandish roles and encouraged them to take bold decisions to run the company. With every venture he took time to make his employees understand what benefits this business can bring to them, what are their strengths against their competitors and how can they create an edge in the industry. Once that was established he stepped out of the front row and gave them an opportunity to stand in the CEO’s shoe. This not only let him share his vision but also gave his employees more than just a job description to follow. They had to make things happen without the CEO. The challenges and obstacles kept the vision of the group alive.
Employee engagement and empowerment go beyond just the employee motivation and retention. Stats show that companies that empower their workforce to take decisions and own the company realize more financial returns, better customer services and of course less employee turnover. These stats are also shown in the figure below;
The stats and various studies show that employees want to complement and add advantages to their companies and if they feel that ownership they are more likely to work hard and efficient.

Working With Vision Group

It is important to thoroughly research about a company before opting to work with it. If I receive an opportunity to work with Vision group my criteria would include the following points:
The adventurous and intuitive nature of Richard Branson is apparent through the distinct ventures of Virgin group as well as through his personality. To complement his personality he would want his manager to be a risk taker like him. However a manager is always accountable to the CEO in terms of number that could be difficult if proper research and analysis is not in place while taking on a task.
Virgin group has several companies including the space travel company that can provide any manager to enhance their profile. The role will be challenging but the long term impacts will increase prospects.
Richard Branson is a transformational leader and these leaders have high expectations from the employees that are on one hand highly effective for the employee to excel in their career but can be highly demanding as far as work responsibilities are concerned. These responsibilities often extend over just fulfill the job role.


Richard Branson has exemplified a modern approach to leading a company. He is considered as a case study for transformational leaders. The techniques and strategies he has used to make his employees feel the expectations and to make efforts to realize those goals not to bring success to the company but to enhance their profiles and excel in their career. He has the ability to communicate his vision to others that makes them accept that vision as their own.
Can Richard Branson become a global leader? Yes, he has the ability to motivate every new leader to see that same vision and set their goals to achieve it like their own. The ability to keep close to his sub ordinates is important to understand the goals of each individual and to enable them to reach their personal goals too. Leaders like him encourage people to take bold risks to stand out and to achieve their goals without the fear of fall. Several of his ventures failed but nothing stopped him to expand more, experiment more and grow more. He showed how understanding the market situations, identifying the needs at right time is the key to success. He is truly a global leader as he believes in giving power and ownership to other in order to bring them to much elevated level. Unlike traditional approach the transparency in business processes and the team design to complement rather than resemble in abilities makes a more competent team.
Last but not least, Richard Branson is not only an adventurous and prompt leader he is also socially ware and has a community betterment in his priority list. Positive attitudes of management, instil the same sense of community in the subordinates and employees that can create a ripple effect in the surroundings.


Branson, R. (2012). Richard Branson on Inspiring Employees. Forbes.
Horton, M. (2012). Operation Employee Engagement – How To Keep Employees Motivated at Work. Soicalcast.
Moneyball for Talent. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://abeo.us: http://abeo.us/moneyball-for-talent/
Richard Branson. (2015). Retrieved from Biography.com: http://www.biography.com/people/richard-branson-9224520#personal-life
Schawbel, D. (2014). Richard Branson's Three Most Important Leadership Principles. Forbes.

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