Good Essay About Leadership: Richard Branson
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Leadership, Theory, Style, Chastity, Decision Making, Decision, Employee, Leader
Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group companies. Virgin Group has over 400 companies in various industries. Some of the well-known companies include; Virgin Atlantic, an airline company, Virgin Records, Virgin stores, and Virgin Megastores amongst many others (Dearlove). Branson is known as an empathetic leader who puts the welfare of his employees before anything else. He describes his philosophy as one that puts his employees first, customers second and investors third. Most leaders regard customers as the most important stakeholders in their organizations. However, Mr. Branson describes himself as a “rule breaker”. He believes in doing things differently in order to get great results. His leadership style is working based on the great results that he has achieved over the years (Gill). His leadership style is largely participative given his close relationship with his subordinates and his aspiration to always incorporate their input in his decision-making process.
Participative Leadership Theory
Participative leadership theory is based on the principle that when subordinates are involved in the decision-making process it improves their understanding of the goals that are supposed to be achieved (Burke and Friedman). It also motivates them to try to achieve the goals that they have made themselves. Participation in decision-making makes subordinates more committed in their duties, and that is why participative leadership is believed to get the best out of employees. Furthermore, participative leadership theory explains that collective decision-making makes employees less competitive amongst themselves and instead become more collaborative. It is especially true when they are working on joint goals that they have participated in setting. The theory advocates for collectivity in decision-making in the belief that it promotes social commitment among the members. It makes co-workers view each other as a family who should look after each other and work for each other (Gill). Subordinates are made to believe that they are part of the organization. Individuals are recognized for outstanding performance, and rewards are offered in terms of promotions, etc.
Leadership Style, Strengths, and Weaknesses
Branson has managed to use participative leadership style to endear himself to his subordinates. Most of them see him as a role model to them. He has inculcated a culture of empathy and collective pursuit of common goals into Virgin Group, and the results can be seen from the success he has achieved. Apart from being a participative leader, he also exhibits some traits of a transformational leader (Burke and Friedman). It is so given his dynamism and knack to try out new ways of doing things. He like change and knows how to introduce it and implement it. His strengths are in the way he connects with everyone that helps him to quickly sell his ideas to others. He is extremely talented and knowledgeable and has an insatiable craving to achieve more. It is difficult to identify the weaknesses of someone who has achieved so much and continues to achieve more. However, his greatest weakness is not following the rules. In his world there are no rules (Dearlove). He believes in trying what you think will work, if it doesn’t work, you learn from it.
Insights into Leadership Style
Branson inspires me a lot with his innovative leadership. His ability to earn the trust of his juniors and peers is his greatest asset. It has emanated from the trust that he has put in them too. He lets them work freely, allows them to try new things although he knows that there are possibilities of failing. The participative theory has shown me the importance of working together with subordinates and peers and letting them know that there input is valuable (Burke and Friedman). The theory emphasizes the importance of giving feedback whenever you have been given any suggestions by peers and followers. Failure to give feedback demotivates others and makes them feel that their input is not important. Although I would like to believe that I am a transformational leader, I intend to borrow a lot from the participative leadership theory. I believe that the two can effectively be practiced together.
The analysis of the management style of Richard Branson and participative theory of leadership has expanded my thinking about management and leadership. I have learnt from the analysis that it is possible to merge two leadership styles and succeed. The leadership and management style by Mr. Branson has both elements of transformational leadership as well as participative leadership (Dearlove). The success that he has achieved by practicing the blend of the two leadership style is inspiring.
Burke, Robert E, and Leonard H Friedman. Essentials Of Management And Leadership In Public Health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2011. Print.
Dearlove, Des. The Unauthorized Guide To Doing Business The Richard Branson Way. Chichester, UK: Capstone, 2010. Print.
Gill, Roger. Theory And Practice Of Leadership. London: SAGE Publications, 2006. Print.