What Makes an Ordinary Person a Great Leader : 4 Leadership Mantras from Richard Branson to Help Reach New Heights

This man is unstoppable. It’s almost like success is second nature for him. Since the inception of his record label in 1970, he has launched more than 400 companies. Whether it’s airlines, hotels, mobile phone companies, banks, or even space tourism — Richard Branson has etched his presence in diverse fields. There’s something about his leadership style that never fails to work wonders. Here are 4 of his leadership mantras.

Don’t let fear restrict your team.

“One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.”

Many companies don’t realize this, but fear is the sole reason why most companies never make a mark. What’s the biggest fear that haunts people every day? Making mistakes. Once you embrace mistakes as a stepping stone to success, your company will start growing by leaps and bounds.

“People flourish if they’re praised. Usually they don’t need to be told when they’ve done wrong because most of the time they know it. If somebody is not working out, don’t automatically throw him or her out of the company. A company should genuinely be a family. So see if there’s another job within the company that suits them better. On most occasions you’ll find something for every single kind of personality.”

Get out there, talk to people and be friendly.

“A good leader does not get stuck behind a desk. I’ve never worked in an office — I’ve always worked from home — but I get out and about, meeting people. It seems I am traveling all the time but I always have a notebook in my back pocket to jot down questions, concerns or good ideas.”

Richard believes in being there for people. He knows that his team can only improve and grow by collective support, not by endlessly working away at the desk, alone.

“If I’m on a Virgin Atlantic plane, I make certain to get out and meet all the staff and many of the passengers. If you meet a group of Virgin Atlantic crew members, you are going to have at least 10 suggestions or ideas.”

By being friendly, a leader can encourage people to openly share their ideas and therefore, get new perspectives on the challenges out there.


Get your hands dirty.

“Nobody respects a leader who doesn’t know how to get his hands dirty and innovate personally. The trick is in striking the right balance between empowering your staff and being an example for them to follow.”

Richard knows that in order for his company to grow, he has to ride the grind. When his team needs him to get on to the field, he has to get on to the field and get to work. A leader has to prove his skills whenever the organisation needs it, even if it requires him to get his hands dirty.


Be a good listener.

“As a leader you have to be a really good listener. You need to know your own mind, but there’s no point in imposing your views on others without some debate. No one has a monopoly on good ideas or good advice.”

You may have noticed Richard’s body language and the way he talks in his interviews — always smiling, curiously listening, almost like an intelligent friend. It shows that he is genuinely interested in people and their ideas — a great quality that every leader must strive for.


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