Sir Richard Branson is an entrepreneur, founder and chairman of Virgin Group of Companies. Virgin Atlantic is based in London, England, an international company encompassing publishing on global issues, retailers, aviation, and entertainers. He started his empire when he was only 15 years old. He managed to build his business when Britain economic status was in total darkness (Werner & Desimone, 2008). He became an international celebrity when he founded the famous virgin Atlantic airways. Sir Richard Branson, lacked conventional school training, but he still followed his dreams to the end. He does not have a business training background or even a high school diploma.
For one to be a successful leader especially in business Richard believed that one just requires giving people what they need and want in their lifetimes. Currently, sir Richard is much committed in business of supporting projects especially health and education in the whole of Africa (Werner & Desimone, 2008). This paper will be focusing on the leadership roles of Sir Richard, the various factors which contribute to his effectiveness and the development/training which may improve such attributes to people aspiring to a role of leadership.
Sir Richard Branson is an effective leader whose effectiveness has been contributed by several factors. To begin with, he is empathy whereby in most cases he is seen understanding and identifying himself with other peoples and organizations objectives, situations whether hard or simple, as well as feelings. For instance, this leader has been putting himself in the shoes of orphans, the sick and other people with limited resources to further their education (Delahaye, 2005). As a result of this feeling of empathy he made an extra step of initiating several projects to support these people. When a leader demonstrates a sign of empathy in his organization, especially when the company is going through some difficulty situations, the leader automatically gains great reputation from the staffs.
When negotiating a friendly solution a good leader empathizes with both sides which make the employees to work comfortably with their leader. A good interrelationship of the leader and other staffs makes the achievement of the set goals easier to achieve. For the leaders and other people who are aspiring the role of a leader, this attribute can be developed by practicing job rotation and evaluating how well each individual can perform the duties of the leader.
Sir Richard Branson has demonstrated a tenacious determination, with no signs of hesitation in spite of obstacles. For any one to test the level of determination and to develop that leadership factor he can once in a while be playing the roles of the leader within the organization or if for a student he can be utilizing his free time to volunteer in some organizations and try to play the roles of the leader. Virgin group of company did not start as a group but as a single company. With determination and positive attitude, he managed to turn around some impossible situations by making other people see some lights in some dark situations (Delahaye, 2005).
The leader who makes his staff to focus the end result of their struggles in mind al through and ensuring them that there is future for them in the organization, makes them to be as well determined and work toward the same direction as their leader. A vision of a brighter future in the company motivates every single employee to work with determination and enjoy those final results. This factor can only be transferred effectively from the leader down wards to other employees. If the leader is not determined the whole company works for today with no hope for tomorrow.
Sir Richard Branson, in several cases has shown his way of solving problems in calm and composed manner. This attribute can be developed by the young people who are aspiring a leadership role by conducting management games among themselves and determine how better they can fit in that role. The virgin group of companies has been faced with a lot of challenges just like any other company (Werner & Desimone, 2008). Sir Richard as the chairman and the founder has been tackling these challenges of the company, as well as settling the cases of the top management who are also caught up unexpectedly by those challenges. Incase of such challenges in any organization, the leader remains stable and detaches himself from the situation to give himself some private moments to analyze the problem from a distance.
Reasoning away from the situation, the leader gets a good chance of evaluating himself of how much he can change the situation, and then he consults the possible personnel who can assist in pulling out the organization from the situation (Werner & Desimone, 2008). This facto can be developed by going through as many case studies as possible and evaluating how other leaders go about when encountered by such situations. The stability of the leader even when the organization is faced with challenges, it’s like a rock makes the rest to have some peace of mind and continue working just like before. Some problems in the company should not be allowed to affect every staff.
Having an excellent communication skills have contributed much to the effectiveness of Sir Richard’s leadership. Anyone can improve his communication skills by making use of management games where students can be given a chance to address some issues and see how much they can keep the viewers attentive. He has made uncountable successful presentations in meetings with his staffs and colleagues. Mostly, communication skills are learned along the ladder of becoming an effective leader (Werner & Desimone, 2008). This skill is very crucial in any organization as the leader be able to convey the messages to his staffs accurately.
There are several ambiguities which arise in the organizations and the leader has no option apart from addressing them before they come up and distract the normal running of the daily operations. Leader’s good communication skills keep the listeners in the meeting attentive and ready to contribute their ideas (Delahaye, 2005). Leaders who lack excellent communication skills end up delegating even duties which are not supposed to be delegated. Lack of this important skill to any leader may land the company at the wrong destination.
Virgin group of companies are companies with a resourceful basis. The chairman and the founder of these companies is an effective leader who is very resourceful. He has been very active to provide the companies with the required resources to keep them moving and attaining the set objectives (Delahaye, 2005). It’s not necessarily for the leader to have everything which is required by the company, but he should be someone who can turn to the relevant people and gather the required resources.
All the employees in the company expect to be provided for everything they require by their leader without failing. The leader therefore should be aware of where to obtain the needed resources so as to make the employees gain confidence in him. Once they perceive that their leader is capable of supplying them with all the required resources they become sure and confidence as they execute their duties. More respect is acquired by the staff towards their leader once they discover that all their problems can be solved at hand by their leader (Swanson, & Holton 2009).
There is no one in the universe that is perfect. A good leader must as well be willing to be led by other people and regularly taking time to listen to their views. When the leader proofs to his employees that he can listen to their grievances, they in turn develop an attitude of voluntarily listening to him. It’s always advisable for the leader to put into consideration his staff views before making any decision (Swanson, & Holton 2009). In several cases, companies under the virgin group of companies have been seen holding meetings for all the staffs, to give them a chance to air their views. All that information gathered are placed on the table of the chairman and his team to be used in the process of decision making.
The factors which have contributed to the effectiveness of Sir Richard’s leadership are endless but the main ones have been discussed. There are so many factors which anyone who is aspiring this role should adopt. The main factors which have been discussed and others can be learned by anyone who has some plans of becoming an effective leader (Northouse, 2009). If one is currently an effective leader or not he/she can learn any time as there is no school for them. Several studies have shown that leadership and learning are inseparable, one has to have a special desire of learning new things on his way to climbing a ladder of an effective leader.
For the people who are aspiring to become effective leaders there are several trainings and developments which may increase these attribute of a good leader. The first step for someone who wants to be developed to be a good leader is to gather information and get some sense of what the leadership is and its contents. There are leadership development programs which come in different forms. For instance, there are formal and informal, directed and self directed (Northouse, 2009).
If one decides to improve his attributes through the informal way he can buy some leadership articles and acquire as much knowledge as possible or else discuss the leadership roles with a friend who is more enlightened in that field than you. Informal training has no pre-set goals to be achieved and no evaluation of testing whether the goals were achieved or not. Informal training is not as effective as the formal training especially if the learner is in need of gaining knowledge of a specific area.
Formal leadership training is whereby the person decides to attend a seminar or a workshop majoring in leadership effectiveness. From this, the person can learn both the theory and the practical part of the leadership (Swanson, & Holton 2009). He gets a good chance of asking questions and interacting freely with the leaders. In addition, he will learn much from other colleagues who are learning together with him. Formal training is standardized as in most cases it includes the following; some objectives to be attained at the end of training are stated, the different methods of learning so as to achieve the goals are used, and evaluation at the end of the training is done.
Formal training and development is the most appropriate for the people aspiring to be effective leaders (Swanson, & Holton 2009). For any training and development to becoming an effective leader the learner must be willing to grow, to experience. The learner must be willing to take any type of risk which may come on his way. Always ready to maintain openness between the instructor and himself by talking out his feelings during the learning process. Either formal and informal training can either be self directed or other directed.
The formal training and development which is the most recommendable follows some phases. Firstly, the knowledge and the skills which are required by the learner are determined to gauge whether the objectives of the learner will be achieved. The training is then designed by outlining goals and objectives, training tools, and evaluation of the objectives (Northouse, 2009). The different ways of training and the tools are developed. Finally, the training is implemented, and evaluation of all the components of training is done. Several factors should be considered before choosing which method to use for training and development processes. These factors include; the financial status of the learner, the complexity of the knowledge and skills which the learner has prepared for, time available, and the learners motivation.
The learner should bear in mind that not all formal training and development methods are systematic (Northouse, 2009). Several workshops and training sessions have some objectives and even ways of evaluating the training afterward but they are not integrated. Some these methods do not lead the learner towards achieving the training goals and objectives. Their evaluation emphasizes on the learners feelings about the training experience instead of assessing how effective did the learning experience manage the training goals. Systematic approach is the most appropriate as it aims at achieving the set objectives, to ensure the best outcome of the training; the results gotten in each phase are used as the base of the next phase.
Self directed training is whereby the learner decides what type of training and development will be conducted and how are they supposed to be delivered to him (Riggio, & Bass 2006). Most of people of late are opting for self directed training and development programs. For instance a learner who chooses a self directed training in the formal system he would be required to provide some information like; selecting and giving out his goals and objectives, ways through which evaluation of the objectives will be done etc. (Riggio, & Bass 2006). other directed learning is the situation where the training activities are decided by someone else apart from learner, in the formal system which we are focusing on this paper someone apart from the learner sets the training goals, designs the ways through which the goals are to be met, and the final evaluation of the whole training system.
For any individual who is aspiring to a leadership role, and wishing to improve his attributes to become an effective leader, is better for him to adopt the formal training and development program through other directed learning (Swanson, & Holton 2009). Through this he will be able to gather as much information as possible through a systematic way. There is a chance of learning new factors, as well as improving the ones he already has. This is the system of training and development which is adopted by most of the learning institutions like colleges, schools and universities.
In conclusion, leadership in any situation is easy to be explained, but not in any way easy to be practiced. Leadership is demonstrated first in behaviors, followed by skills. Leaders are made not born and anyone with a special desire of becoming an effective leader can be made so through trainings. In some cases, there are some people who are born more naturally with sense of leadership than others.
Once one is in leadership role, with time the leadership ability continues to develop, as many qualities like confidence, courage, and commitment continue to be well established in someone. In the case of Sir Richard Branson, he has been acquiring most of his leadership abilities within the course of his many activities (Swanson, & Holton 2009). For the people who are aspiring to this role of leadership nobody should feel that he was not born a leader. Leaders are made and we have witnessed through several cases of Sir Richard Branson where his leadership abilities have been improved.
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