Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates Essay

1. Executive summary

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This report contains the characteristics and comparison between the leadership qualities of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Here it is discussed how Bill Gates carryout to be a successful business entrepreneur being a democratic leader with a high innovative vision. Furthermore, Richard Branson as a fun full leader who succeeded with no theoretical knowledge implemented with regard to leadership. He was a passionate leader who was very much confidence about himself and who marketed his products with his image. Hence, it could be said that none of the leaders had the same characteristics other than a perfect vision and an aim to fulfill their dreams which lead them to be successful characters in the world.

2. Introduction

This report contains the characteristics of Bill Gates and Richard Branson also the leadership qualities and a fair comparison between them. This is useful for the readers who have a dream to be a successful business entrepreneur to get a knowledge about two most success personnel. Furthermore the positive points that one could gain and the drawbacks are well compared and contrasted. Hence it explains which of the two characters Bill Gates or Richard Branson was more successful as a leader. The aim of this would be to get to know the two characters and compare their leadership qualities to detect the most effective leadership exemplary. Though this report discuss about characteristics of Bill Gates and Richard Branson the priority is given to the leadership style of these personnel.

3. Get to know Sir Richard Branson

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Sir Richard Branson is one of the world’s most intriguing and durable entrepreneurial business leaders. As the founder of Virgin group he could be seen as a successful leader with a unique leadership style which cannot be found in any of the management leadership handbook theories. He was born in 1950, London. Richard Branson had poor academic reports contrast to the excellent performance in outdoor sports activities.

His autobiography entitled “losing my virginity” was an international best seller. In his career as a businessman he had created successful companies as well as some unsuccessful ones. Branson’s first business was selling Christmas trees. The Ultimate success of business was the Virgin Records, a shop which was in London. This was named as virgin since at that time they were all new to the respective field. The virgin Group is known for the record labels, airline, cellular phones and many more of the business ventures.

4. Get to know Bill Gates

William Bill Gates is the co-founder, Chief executive and Chairman of the Officer of Microsoft Organization. He got famous for producing the best software for personal computers through his personal desire to gain success. He is known as a successful entrepreneurial business leader who guides himself and also the others by being an inspirational character. Bill Gates was born in 1955 and was intelligent from the childhood. He performed well in his studies seeing this; Bill’s parents gave him a good education.

He was first exposed to computers in seventh grade. He was interested in computers from his childhood that he would even cut classes but he always did his homework. In 1973 Bill Gates got into Harvard University and left in 1975 to devote him-self in the Microsoft Company. He is also known for his frugality which seems to be a value which he learnt from his parents. Bill Gates unlike the other competitors spent the profits in a well pursued manner. In this report it is discussed further with more details about Sir Richard Branson’s successful leadership style and Knight Bill Gates leadership style comparatively and contrastingly.

5. Leadership styles used by Sir Richard Branson

Ones Sir Richard Branson stated that “You can’t be a good leader if you do not genuinely like people” (CBS interview). This is how he defines the leadership management style. Through the newspaper articles, television shows it could be judged that Sir Richard Branson as a very humble, Down to earth and a friendly person. Sir Richard Branson’s characteristics are as follows (Stephen, 2005). First main characteristic he pointed out was “Smile” everything gets much easier if people can show up a friendly face. Secondly have fun at work. Stress can be massively cut down plus employees will not feel the hard work by having fun at the working place. This was one reason Sir Richard Branson’s companies were successful. The employees of these companies enjoyed working. Branson made sure that the working environment of his companies always adapted accordingly. He came from a simple family background with the above mentioned characteristics so the leadership qualities were also very much simple.

As it was mentioned in the introduction Sir Richard Branson was not a fan of theories. Even though his leadership style was very simple he never referred strategies and worked according to the theories. But it could be seen that his leadership practices are mentioned in the theories although he did not refer them (Brain, 2000). Sir Richard Branson can be personified as a caring and involving business leader where he always had a friendly approach to all the stakeholders of the companies. Quality of listening to all the stakeholder ideas without letting them down or just ignoring them was another distinctive nature. Sir Richard Branson considered interaction between managers and the employees is very important. As charismatic and a transformational leader, Richard adapted to changes very quickly.

Furthermore he was a leader who developed an impression within the stakeholders as a good listener because he respected the ideas and feedback of the stakeholders. These feedbacks of the others were considered equally important to improve a business. Motivation of employees to come up with new ideas and help innovation of the organization are some of his special attributes (Miner, 2005). According to McGregor’s theory, there are people of Theory X and Theory Y. The theory X people do not like to work and they don’t like taking responsibilities. On the other hand, the theory Y people like working and they like responsibilities. According to McGregor, theory X people should be managed in an autocratic manner and theory Y people in a democratic manner. Sir Richard Branson seemed to have a rare quality of treating and leading people to think like business entrepreneurs. According to him, giving responsibilities to employees make them attracted to work and they will enjoy it as well.

As a leading personality he didn’t want to make working a stressful function. So rather than overloading employees with stress and pressure he lead the employees to make working something enjoyable and therefore his management made sure the working environmental is adapted adequately to the requirements. Sir Richard Branson could also be explained as a visionary evangelist. To be a successful leader he was always creative, responsive and harmonizes to the corporation. He also led the employees to practice the same which was one reason for the Virgin groups to be successful as a business in the top level (HiTec Holdings, 2006). Another key fact that is highlighted in his leadership is the ability to work as a team. Sir Richard Branson had the ability to create teamwork, motivate them and lead them in the right path.

This effort had an impact on the working environment as a place where the employees enjoy work rather than a place where the employees consider as pay check collecting process. Monthly letters were sent to employees of the company regarding future plans. Sir Richard considered it is important to have a relationship built with trust. Thus, shared his ideas and made the staff share their ideas to improve the company strategies towards success. A letter about the future plans gives confidence and takes away the fear of the employees of the job and makes them feel secure and appreciated. This eventually, leads the employees to work with a free mind set and great loyalty to the organization. This tactic used by Sir Richard Branson was the key element of creating a loyal set of employees that he has within the organizations who work stress free.

This effect on employees lead the companies provide more efficient and effective service towards the customers. Execution also could be seen as an important quality of a successful leader. Sir Richard Branson charged far lower commissions than other investment funds. First the others made fun out of it and laughed at Sir Richard but it could be seen that he highlighted himself as a better generous leader. Some of his businesses such as Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka failed but he never stepped back and such decisions expresses a well self-esteemed leader who has confidence in himself. He was also highlighted in the way of communicating to the others. As a leader, communicating skills should be in a high level so that the others who are listening are willing to listen to what you have got to deliver and due to his friendly and down to earth nature people found him as a person whom they would love to listen to (Hamel, 2002). Sir Richard Branson’s logic was really simple.

He had a concept of “Employees first” where he believed that keeping employees is the best approach to get a service quality increase continuously. Therefore, keeping the employees happy would return with the employees working happily. Happy employees will do their job better to make customers happy, to get the benefits which they’re bound to, because of the loyalty to the organization. The happy customer is the way to increase revenue in an organization which leads to a higher amount of dividend. This would make the shareholders happy. Not only that, he believed that the improvement of the business will make it be more highlighted in the world which gives the employees and shareholders a greater status. His dream was to make Virgin group as much as popular as Coca cola in the world (Stephen, 2005).

Branson was a person who considered people are the key to success. He always listened to the ideas and issues of employees. Therefore Branson was happy to communicate with the employees personally and get to know the necessities. For instance, Virgin employees wanted to create a union hearing the new Branson was hurt since; he was a person who was pleased to listen to employees. Furthermore he was a fun full character who motivated employees to love the working place.

Branson has a reputation to play not so innocent pranks on employees though his intension is to motivate and make them happy. For instance sneaking to top manager’s houses and removing furniture to replace with new furniture. This after a while makes employees happy though it is a very unique quality among all the leaders that can be seen currently. All what is meant above are the facts related to the leadership style of Sir Richard Branson who is an inspirational and a well highlighted role model in the business field as a successful leader.

6. Leadership styles used by Knight Bill Gates

Knight Bill Gates is one of the most successful business entrepreneurs in the world. Without him in this competitive world it is impossible to survive as a profitable entrepreneurship for years. For Gates to become a successful leader in this field there were some characteristics that should be mentioned before discussing the leadership styles since these characteristics had a huge impact on the leadership style of Bill Gates. Some of the characteristics that should be highlighted are as follows. He was an intelligent character from his childhood also a visionary. The passion for software made him leave University but the innovation skills he had and the continuous learning desire lead him to be a successful person above many other in the world. His Long term approach kept the company held high for years.

Not only the above but he was also a person who learnt continuously from experiences and mistakes. Also he had this intriguing quality of asking questions constantly (Kim, 2005). Bill Gates was a person who used the sources of power he had as a leader in an appropriate manner to improve his business but by not letting employees dissatisfied too. Some of these sources of power he had were position power, reward power, coercive power. Thus far he is seen as an autocratic leader but he never coercion to manipulate other or gain personal benefits (Stephen, 2005). In Fiedler’s Model of leadership, effectiveness of leadership is a result of interaction between the leader’s style and the environment characteristics in which the leader works. Following model explain this theory in detail.

Figure 1

Bill Gates had a related oriented leadership style. The leader’s with this leadership style describe their coworkers in favorable terms and have a close relationship with the fellow workers. Mr. Gates also could be described as a task oriented leader who plans to the role of each employee set very cleverly to get the job done in a perfect manner. He also hired the brightest talents. This highlighted his delegated style of leadership. Due to this the HR managers of Microsoft had to hunt for the best talented personnel and offer them a job. Bill Gates thought recruitment of talented software engineers was one of the censorious elements in this industry which is software industry (Mulcaster, 2005).

He also gave the autonomy to the managers of the departments to work accordingly so that the managers are given more responsibility which would make them feel loyal to the organization. This would lead to gain more successful service by the department with the guidance of the managers. Gates has an autocratic style by nature to lead the others. He is a person who hates complaints and tries to monopolize the world with world- wide software market. In this regard he got problems with the department of justice (Brain, 2000). 7. Comparison of the leadership styles of Sir Richard Branson and Knight Bill Gates

As it is discussed above in each characteristic Sir Richard Branson is a democratic leader where Bill Gates is an autocratic leader. Richard thought giving responsibilities to the employees and getting their ideas was the best way to improve in the field. On the other hand, Bill Gates was a democratic leader with the final decision on his hand and authority.

When the comparison is done using the Fiedler’s contingency model Sir Richard Brandon could be said as a task oriented and a relationship oriented person with personality factors whereas Bill Gates is a situational factored person who has position power, task structure and Leader-member relations. Branson enjoyed the relationship among the subordinates where Gates had a clear commanding chain. Also Branson had a participative, supportive and adoptive nature while Bill gates had a directive behavior. Not only that, Branson gave more freedom to his employees to come up with ideas and work in a comfortable manner whereas Bill Gates preferred telling the subordinates what they should do (Johnson, 2008).

Sir Richard publicized his brand through his charm using his personality. On the contrary, Bill Gates was a person who is passionate about his work. When the strategic and entrepreneurial leadership is compared both these characters could be described as risk taking. But Gates recruited only the best talented people where Branson hired people who like to work with him and for him. Virgin could be said as an organization that has a flat structure where in Microsoft it is completely different structure to Virgin. It has a top echelons structure where only few can take decisions. As a final factor but not least both Sir Richard Branson and Knight Bill Gates could be seen as effective leaders in the level five hierarchies (Zanetti, 2000).

When Bill Gates and Richard Branson are taken together, both are college kids who became successful as global business entrepreneurs. Both became highly respected, experienced and well known characters as well as philanthropists. But the similarities seem to end there because Bill Gates is described and seen as a hedgehog who knew the technology for the highest amount and who was successful in that. On the other hand, Branson is described as a fox, who is multi-talented and as a person who created many businesses in his own glamorous personal image. But in the end, according to the data voters preferred the hedgehog though his charisma was not detectable. People believe his democratized vision and character rebuilt the world (Hamel, 2002).

9. Conclusion

With all the information that was discussed above, it could be said that though both Sir Richard Branson and Knight Bill Gates were successful business leaders with two different styles of leadership. Bill gate was a democratic leader who had a great knowledge and vision. On the other hand, Sir Richard Branson was a fun full character who was very much practical and less theoretical. He was an autocratic leader who treated his fellow subordinate employees to the maximum. He had theories of his own and he created business mostly using his personal image.

Therefore, none of the leaders have the same characteristics but both these characters reached to their success in their own way. But the similarity is both Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gate had a perfect vision and a passion to gain their dreams. They both worked hard to attain their dreams risking their decisions but making sacrifices to gain what they are now. Both Richard and Bill accomplished their dreams by making mistakes but learning from each mistake they did. The continuous learning pattern was a key factor to their success as world famous business entrepreneurs.

11. References

Miner, J, B 2005, Organizational Behavior: Behavior 1: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe. Forbes Magazine, Available on Accessed on 11/28/2012. Samuel, C 2002, Modern management: adding digital focus. Prentice Hall, pp. 22. Myers Briggs/Jung Typology 2011 Available on Accessed on 11/28/2012.

Stephen, P 2005, Essentials of Organizational Behavior, 8th edition.

Brian, T 2000, The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, Publishers, Berrett,Koehler Publishers.

Kim, S, and Mauborgne, C 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy. Harvard Business Press.

Mulcaster, W, R 2009, “Three Strategic Frameworks,” Business Strategy Series, Vol 10, No1, pp 68-75.

Johnson, G, S et al 2008, Whittington, R Exploring Corporate Strategy, 8th Edition, FTPrentice Hall, Essex.

Hamel, G 2002, Leading the Revolution, Plume (Penguin Books), New York.

Zanetti, L, A & Cunningham, R, B 2000, Perspectives on public sector strategic management. In J. Rabin, G. J. Miller, & W. B. Hildreth (Eds.), Handbook of strategic management. New York:Marcel Dekker.

HiTec Holdings, 2006 Profiles of leadership Available on CBS Interview,, Retrieved 4/2 2010

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