Leadership is driven by varied attributes, with each leader responding uniquely to different heights of success influenced by distinguishing instincts and philosophy. "Leadership doesn't have a secret formula; all true leaders go about things in their own way," says Sir Richard Branson. He is a remarkable leader with soaring desire to kindle the moral fibre of leadership in many lives, chairman of over 400 companies, a philanthropist, investor, and a business magnate. It is believed that Branson has broken many rules of leadership, and yet his success has created a standard with incessant references.
As the founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson demonstrated a leadership style influenced by how his team members should be treated. And his book, "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know about Leadership," has been instrumental in lots of inspiration in entrepreneurship. We can quickly look at the major attributes that make him a great leader.
Passion for impact
Branson is one of the leaders that believe in their ideas more than anyone else. He doesn’t back down from his passion just because people are criticizing it, rather he values people who would take a risk on things that are extraordinary. That doesn’t mean that Branson would undertake projects that would ruin him if it fails.
“Protecting the downside” is the term Branson used to describe his idea of limiting risk while pursuing his passion. This is how he was able to convince his partners in the Virgin airline which started in 1984. He demonstrated passion in his first business where his primary target was to sell enough advertisements that could cover the cost of printing the magazines.
Positive corporate culture
Personality and experience are the qualities most valued by Sir Richard. He’s not the type to be enticed with qualifications without personality. "A person who has multiple degrees in your field isn’t always better than someone with broad experience and a wonderful personality," says Branson on Forbes. He is a leader ready to take chances on people, promoting them when possible just to send a message to everyone in the company. Soft skills and strong leadership skills are the fundamentals of being a senior officer in his company and the philosophy is to promote a character required to direct and unite staff for effective collaboration.
Branson also believes there should be rooms for fun in a corporate environment. He believes that company staff should have fun at the office to help keep their mind healthy. Branson said “Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
Dumps mistakes quickly and makes decisions
Sir Richard Branson believes that opportunities are always there that you can’t dwell on your mistakes for long. He is a leader who believes that new plans should be developed quickly when things don’t work out as planned. Hence, it’s imperative to move on quickly to the next challenge each time there’s a mistake.
Using sports to demonstrate the effects of staying back at mistakes, Branson said, "Tennis, like a business, moves so quickly that if you dwell on the past for even a few minutes, an opportunity will have passed and the moment will be lost. You have to get into the right frame of mind in order to perform your best, and need to be able to put setbacks behind you instantly.”
At the moments when decisions are important, Sir Richard does not believe in just making the decisions, he also believes in demonstrating it by making the right moves. He said, "Nobody respects a leader who doesn't know how to get his hands dirty and innovate personally". And added that "There will be times when strong and decisive leadership is necessary, to make sure the right moves are made."
Willingness to listen and learn
Every business leader should have the willingness to listen and learn says the Virgin group founder. It’s not possible to have a monopoly on good ideas no matter how impressive your CV is or how experienced you are in a business. Branson proclaimed that leadership and learning are of the same source and that "as a leader, you should always be listening. Be visible, note down what you hear and you'll be surprised how much you learn." He said, "Successes happen from working and learning with some of the world’s most inspiring and inspired people."
Rule of Teamwork and Talent
Teamwork and skills are the major pioneers of success in every company and Sir Richard Branson is keying into that effectively. He believes in hiring varied skills, experiences and personalities to form a great workforce. Branson says "What leadership boils down to, is people," "Whatever your style, whatever your method, you need to believe in yourself, your ideas and your staff. Nobody can be successful alone and you cannot be a great leader without great people to lead."