Management Essay Paper on Richard Branson’s Leadership

Richard Branson’s Leadership


Richard Branson is the current CEO of the virgin group, which is a multinational corporation operating in different parts of the world. Branson is the founder of this company and has subsequently become its leader. Many people regard his leadership style as one of the best leadership styles in the world today. Accordingly, some people claim that he has become a household brand (Dearlove, 2009). This essay evaluates why Branson is an effective leader and the key elements of his leadership style. Together with this, the essay predicts his leadership style in the next five years and his effectiveness in leading employees during this time.  

Key Elements of his Leadership Style

One of the key elements of Branson’s leadership style is that he inspires employees into achieving goals rather than coercing them into what he wants them to achieve. In this case, Branson sets the company’s goals and works towards motivating employees to achieve those goals through his leadership style. Mostly, he treats employees with the utmost respect and relates to them casually without harassing them. As a result, employees feel comfortable working in the company as well as striving towards achieving the goals. One may say that Branson acts as a catalyst because he comes up with big ideas, but allows his employees to implement those ideas the best way they understand them. Accordingly, because of the way he motivates his employees through his leadership style, his employees implement his ideas effectively (Dearlove, 2007). By so doing, Branson ends up being an effective leader.     

The basis of Branson’s leadership style is the belief that he rears cats in his company rather than leading sheep (Odu, 2009). By this, he means that he enjoys working with people who challenge his decision instead of working with people, who take his decisions blindly without questioning them. In this case, Branson allows his subordinates to challenge him intellectually and come up with better solutions than he provides to them. His belief is that dealing with people in this way might be hard and not enjoyable, but the rewards for this leadership style are bountiful (Dearlove, 2009). In this regard, he encourages his subordinates to challenge his decisions whenever they are not comfortable with them and if possible suggest what he should do to improve the company. At this point, it would be important to note that Branson regards leadership as an art, thereby he allows his employees to act freely in performing their duties (Odu, 2009). This leadership style motivates employees in his company to work hard and make independent decisions without bothering him much.    

Another key element for his leadership style is a clear understanding of when he should act and when he should allow other leaders in the company to act on his behalf. In this case, Branson does not hesitate when delegating responsibilities to his subordinate employees because he understands his role in the company. He claims that he prefers leading people from behind rather than coercing them into what he wants them to do or achieve. Therefore, in most cases, Branson comes up with ideas but lets his subordinates take up those ideas and implement them. Nonetheless, he prefers hiring talented people that are able to take initiatives right from the start, and by hiring these people, he allows them to act independently as they perform their duties. The practice motivates other leaders in the company to do their best, thereby helps Branson to be an effective leader (Dearlove, 2007).

Therefore, the key leadership elements that Branson has motivated employees in the virgin group to work hard and work independently without consulting or meeting him unnecessarily. This means that employees work independently and consult or meet Branson when necessary (Mills et al., 2007). Accordingly, the virgin group ends up being one of the companies with effective leadership.

Blending with the Company

The virgin group that Richard Branson leads is one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial companies. It comprises different companies dealing in different goods and services. Some affiliate companies deal in transport, music, pension plans and mobile phones among others. With respect to these differences, Branson’s leadership traits interlock successfully with such a multifaceted organization in the following ways. First, Branson allows managers to take charge of their respective branches and companies that form the virgin group (Early, 2005). In other words, he allows his managers to make independent decisions concerning their respective branches and companies so long as they are in line with the overall company’s goals. Branson does this because he cannot take charge of every company in the virgin group and by so doing; he empowers other leaders in the company as well. In this case, Branson makes use of one of his core leadership principles of rearing cats rather than leading sheep. He does this because he enjoys dealing with people that challenge his decision and take initiatives (Schermerhorn, 2011). As a result, his leadership style interlocks well with the multifaceted nature of the organization. Second, Branson prefers leading the company and employees from behind meaning that he allows other leaders in the company to make independent decisions so long as those decisions are in line with the company’s vision. This enables subordinate leaders in the company to utilize their leadership potentials, thereby complement Branson’s leadership styles. Third, by allowing other leaders in the company to make independent decisions and exercise their leadership skills, Branson develops talents in the company such that even in his absence, the company runs well. As such, his leadership styles interlock well with the multifaceted nature of the company (Mills et al., 2007).         

Motivating Employees

One of the key ways that Branson is likely to use in motivating employees to achieve the company’s goals is by developing other leaders in the company. He can do this by empowering the subordinate leaders to be like him or simply lead them by example. If Branson does this as he has been doing, then he is likely to motivate young leadership in the company among the subordinate leaders (Salvendy, 2001). Largely, Branson has been doing this and he has been successful in leading the organization. However, he can still do better in this area than he has been doing in the past. My suggestion is that besides motivating employees to work hard, he can lead them front as well in some instances. By so doing, he might motivate employees more than he has been doing in the past.  

Another way that Branson could use in motivating employees to achieve his company’s goals is by solving problems for them whenever they come up. This means that as a leader, Branson should be the one that provides solution to the problems that face the company. This strategy would help minimize problems in the company (McConnell, 2007). Nevertheless, while these two methods would motivate some employees in achieving the company’s goals, they would not be effective in some companies where employees work independently. For example, the aspect of empowering employees to become leaders would not be effective in manufacturing organizations that employees require supervisors every time to guide them or where they do not require any leadership skills in performing their duties. At the same time, providing solutions to employees might not solve problems in all organizations. In this case, it would be important to allow employees to work independently rather than supervise them all the time (Lussier, & Achua, 2012).  

Assessing his Effectiveness

In terms of articulating and communicating his vision to employees and other stakeholders, Branson might not be effective in this area, but once he understands what he wants to do, he does not hesitate to do it. This is in relation to the fact that he is a charismatic leader that does not hesitate to implement his vision. Therefore, he is able to prospect and take initiatives in whatever he wishes to do even though he is not effective in communicating, but he understands how to implement his strategy (Bacon, 2011).    

Job Offer at the Company

If I received a job offer at the virgin group to work as a manager, I would use the following criteria to evaluate whether Branson’s leadership style is a good fit for the manager. First, I would start by evaluating his leadership skills. This includes the way he has been effective in using his leadership skills when leading other people in the company. If he has been effective, then I would consider him as an effective leader. I would also evaluate the way he has been communicating in the past either orally or in written form. By evaluating the way he has been communicating in the past, I would tell his leadership style (Early, 2005). I would also evaluate his competencies in leading people during the change process as well as during the hard times. Second, I would evaluate his leadership behavior. This would include the way he behaves while leading the company and when leading employees. If he behaves in the right manner, then I would consider him as an effective leader. Third, I would evaluate his leadership style to establish whether he is predictable or not. By establishing whether he is predictable, I would be able to tell his leadership style. At the same time, I would tell whether I would be in a position to cope up with him. This would be helpful in predicting the way he will behave and treat me in the future. Nonetheless, with respect to what I know about him, my conclusion would be that Branson is an effective leader; thus, I would accept the job offer at his company (Dearlove, 2007).  

Position on Global Leadership

With relation to taking position on whether Branson is a global leader or not, I would start by saying that he is a charismatic leader. This means that he is a captivating leader; thus, able to inspire employees in his company towards change by motivating them in one way or the other, and leading them towards change (Williams, & Williams, 2013). Based on this understanding, I would then proceed and say that Branson is a global leader. However, he might not be effective in every part of the world because people hold different perceptions toward charismatic leaders. For example, Branson’s leadership style might not be effective in the Arabic parts of the world that do not embrace charismatic leaders. My assertion is that certain regions in the world, such as the Arabic regions do not endorse charismatic leaders (Steers, Sánchez-Runde, & Nardon, 2010). As a result, even though Branson is a global leader, his leadership style might not be effective in the Arabic regions unless he adjust it. Nonetheless, my position is that Branson is a global leader in all dimensions, and he will remain so because he has been that way since he became a leader.

Predicting his Leadership

Branson has been a leader since the age of fifteen when he first published his magazine by the name student. Since that time, he has been able to come up as an effective leader who inspires people by his leadership style. His motivation has been living every day to its fullest such that he does not regret anything at the end of the day. With respect to this motivation, he has been able to motivate his subordinates to take the necessary steps towards improving the company. He has also been able to motivate other people working in the virgin group to act boldly without doubting their decisions, as he himself has been doing. At the same time, his charismatic leadership style has been effective in leading managers from different parts of the world (Steers, Sánchez-Runde, & Nardon, 2010). Based on this understanding, I predict that his success within the next five years will be overwhelming meaning that many people will feel it. In other words, he will be successful in his leadership such that almost every person in the business world will notice him. This is in relation to the fact that he is able to adjust his leadership style to business changes as well as any other form of change that comes up in life.


This essay evaluates Branson’s leadership style and establishes that he is a charismatic leader who has been able to motivate employees in his company because of his effective leadership skills and style. The essay predicts that Branson will be effective in his leadership even in the next five years. Among other things, the essay identifies the key elements of Branson’s leadership and shows how they have been instrumental in his leadership.  


Bacon, T. (2011). The elements of power: Lessons on leadership and influence. New York: AMACOM American Management Association.

Dearlove, D. (2007). Business the Richard Branson way: 10 secrets of the world’s greatest brand builder. Chichester, UK: Capstone.

Dearlove, D. (2009). The unauthorized guide to doing business the Richard Branson way: 10 secrets of the world’s greatest brand builder. West Sussex: John Wiley & sons.

Early, G. (2005). Leadership expectations: How executive expectations are created and used in a non-profit setting. Oxford: Regnum.

Lussier, R., & Achua, C. (2012). Leadership: theory, application, & skill development. Natorp Boulevard: Cengage Learning. 

McConnell, C. (2007). The effective health care supervisor. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Mills, A. et al. (2007). Organizational behaviour in a global context. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press.

Odu, J. (2009). Select undergraduate papers: Real term and research papers that received top grades in college. United States: Decent Hill Publishers.

Salvendy, G. (2001). Handbook of industrial engineering: Technology and operations management. New York, NY: Wiley.

Schermerhorn, J. (2011). Exploring management. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Steers, R., Sánchez-Runde, S., & Nardon, L. (2010). Management across cultures: Challenges and strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, J., & Williams, J. (2013). Professional leadership in schools: effective middle management and subject leadership. New York: Routledge.