Leadership plays a key role in the success of any business and can determine the success or failure of a business venture. Around the world, there are many notable leaders who have managed to steer their companies from small local enterprises to large multinational companies. Richard Branson is one such notable leader. An article entitled The importance of being Richard Branson (Knowledge@Wharton 1-3) reveals that Branson is the founder and owner of the Virgin Group – an empire of 350 companies with ventures in the airline, telecommunication, trains, cosmetic, credit card and several other industries. His empire is worth over 7 billion dollars and it employs over 9,000 people in 28 countries (Morris, par. He has also been recognized as one the 25 most influential leaders in the last 25 years. He is a leader who has mastered the ability to build successful brands and the ability to create a common purpose among his followers. At the core of Branson’s leadership style, is his belief that people, or more specifically his employees, are the foundation of his company success.
A Wall Street Journal poll carried out in 2004 reported the following five characteristics as strengths that make a good leader; integrity, ability to get along with others, industriousness, intelligence, business knowledge and education (Ebersohn, 11). Branson’s integrity is perhaps best exemplified by his open and honest attitude to his employees. He believes that it is important that employees are aware at all times about the successes and the problems that the company is going through. He encourages the celebration of company successes and on the other hand also encourages his employees to suggest solutions and innovation to grow the company and solve any problems the company might be going through.
Branson is known as a hard worker. His industriousness nature is often described as workaholic. His intelligence is manifested in his ability to identify good business