Sir Richard Branson, who is the founder and chairman of Virgin group limited, has been identified as a transformational leader. His form of leadership is liked and disliked by many across the globe. Branson has been known to have a different way of leadership which has led the Virgin group to go through thick and thin over the years. Even though the company now has a total of 50,000 employees and makes about 20 billion dollar sale every year, it has suffered setbacks because of Branson's leadership as well. The leadership Branson exhibits attracts his followers possibly because he is so open about everything. The strategies and skills that he puts forward are not a secret and are very doable as well. Branson went on to openly declare how and when he had caused damage to the company. When the leader tried to launch n Mp3 player or insisted on holding the retail outlets are such examples. Another instance where Branson led the company to lose money was when he launched the Virgin Cola which was destructed by the Coca Cola Company. A major component of his leadership style is the importance he has given to employees. Where most of the executives focus more on share holders, customers and then employees, Branson has got it thinking the other way around. In his opinion, if the employees are happy, they will go onto make the customers happy and if the shareholders see the customers content, they would want to invent as well.
In the competitive world today, it is crucial to find a good match between the leadership style and the behavior of the employees there. The configuration theory has been utilized to see how leadership and dominance eventually go on to affect work performance in the long run. (Tangpinyoputtikhun & Tiparos, 2011)There is a good focus on strategies implemented in a business. The job of the leader is to make the followers or the employees in this case work towards a certain goal. Transformational leaders like Branson tend to work on social exchange. They work to inspire the employees and in doing so get their self-interest accepted as well. This sort of leaders works to encourage the employees and make them settle in such an environment such that they want to work more efficiently in the organization. This sort of leadership is flexible and relies on how much the leader trusts the followers to come through.
The transactional leadership on the other hand works with a system of performance and reward. The more the workers do well, the better reward they will get. (Tangpinyoputtikhun & Tiparos, 2011)
The employees that Branson hires, he makes sure that all their queries are answered. Branson even said it himself that just because a company is increasing in size, it doesn't mean it starts to devalue people and their requirements. Branson feels he has a responsibility for all of his employees.
The style of leadership shown by Branson would be effective in the United States today. Branson makes the organization appear like one big family where everyone is concerned about every other person. Many of the organization today have become merely money making machines depending on the profit and losses of the company. If this form of leadership is taken up the by the corporate world, there wouldn't be any labor unions or unhappy employees. If looked at in more detail, there would be decreased amount of office politics and less corruption as well. Today America needs transformational leader's more than transactional leaders. Profit is a given everywhere and every employee will be aware of the profit he or she will be given regardless of what the quality of work is. On the other hand, transformational leadership inspires the employee and stimulates him to work harder. The employee looks past his own interests and tends to look at the bigger picture as well. Along with benefiting the employee, this sort of enthusiasm will surely increase the efficacy of the organizations in America today.
Branson has a high preference for listening to his employees and making a step against what they want. Even though his leadership style cannot be said to be autocratic, it isn't very democratic either. It is true that he listens to the employees and resolves their problems. However, in the instances where the company was at loss because of him, it shows that he hadn't used democratic decision making either. In a democratic style, the leader shares decision making abilities and works with other members of the group. In Branson's company, even though the people were happy they weren't active in the decision making. In a democratic style leadership, all the members of the organization make decision keeping the objectives and benefit of the organization in mind. Branson has the quality of being an active listener and if he implements the advice of members at other hierarchical levels, the company might go on to benefit in the long run. Research has indicated that this leadership style is one of the most efficient one and enhances productivity. It builds up on the morale of the company and makes the people consider them self an integral part of the corporation. (Martindale, 2011) An important aspect of this sort of leadership is that the people have to be skilled and willing to share their ideas. The communication should be smooth, strategic and should take a good amount of time as well. (Martindale, 2011) Decisions made in a hurry like or just to prove a point will not go on to benefit the company.
Richard Branson has initiated the Virgin Galactic space tourism program and has already has guests signing up for this venture. Branson, who is the owner of millions of dollars worth of assets, wished to do something big with all the money. His aim was to expand his company but also go onto do something that will affect mankind in a major way. (Waugh, 2012) Branson has been focusing on attaining guests for his project from all over the world. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt are already signed up for the flight (Waugh, 2012) This major project will be a success with all his employees and the team Scaled composites will be working with Virgin to make this project a success. The designs basically belong to Scaled composites but would go on to be owned by the new company that will function Spaceship Two and the White Knight. The new company known as the Spaceship Company will be a joint venture of Scaled and Virgin.
Surely, when someone wants to be a leader, they have these skills required to be successful. The motivation that a leader has works to serve the company at the managerial level. It can be easily shown by Branson's enthusiasm. Apart from having the skill and the motivation, a leader should be able to grasp the volatility and scope of the circumstances in the organization. The leader should be able to take in all the minute details and be able to make a decision favoring the employees and the organization in large. ((Phillips & Hunt, 1992) Branson has the tendency to think out of the box and make strategic decisions. He emphasizes on taking risks and taking chances and being confident in what to do. Some might argue that this is a rather impulsive form of decision taking; it has seemed to work out for Branson.
Overall, Richard Branson is lively leader who does not seem to spend months thinking before he takes up a venture. The degree of confidence and belief he has in his company and his employees work positively for him. The major qualities in this form of leadership appear to be consideration for others and strategic thinking. Risk taking is…