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Leadership styles example: Virgin

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Motivation
Wordcount: 2631 words Published: 24th May 2017

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The term leadership can be defined as “influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts towards goal setting and goal achievement” (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2004, p.716). Leadership styles for that reason acts as a mean of motivation since employees are working collectively with management through delegation and empowerment. Consequently, ways in which employees are managed have an effect on their ability, motivation and attentiveness. Motivation is thus defined as “wanting to do something or wanting to achieve a certain result” (Thompson and Machin, 2003, p.154). In my perception, motivation within a workforce is subsequently valuable given that it helps to increase productivity along with output over a period of time helping to meet business objectives.

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With reference to Virgin; a multinational company established by Richard Branson, his style of leadership is shown to entail certain characteristics in relation to the question seeing “all enterprises are linked by the single powerful central image of the founder and the characteristic red livery “ (Mullins, 2010, p.37). Styles of management therefore are shown to influence motivation and perceptions within a workforce. Branson style is thus exposed to motivate; even though Virgin pays staff with low salaries, employees within Virgin complete work to a high standard to the extent employees are important projectors of the brand image. The suggestion of visionary, inspirational and participative style can therefore be considered as essential in motivating workforces in achieving their goals and in giving a good corporate reflection.

A participative style of leadership is directed towards democratic management whereby managers permit workers to key in views or ideas transversely before making decisions. From experience, this seems essential in motivating depending on the type of organisation, here employees participate in the decision making process and feel part of the progression. According to Billsberry J “this style can thus lead to better quality decisions which are then more effectively implemented… autocratic may stiffly creativity, not use available expertise and fail to establish motivation and commitment “ (1996 p.43). Having a sense of entered ideas can add towards job satisfaction and allow management to listen to workers views and ideas. In good judgment, it is seen to enhance and increase motivation as workers enjoy work through a logic sense of contribution which is an intrinsic source of motivation (motivation from inside the individual). In addition, when I was working within a restaurant as a waitress, we were managed in an autocratic route, where everyone was given instructions on what tasks to perform without having any insights on decisions. In my opinion this was fundamental to motivate me as I knew what to do and what was expected of me, whereas the idea of participative would mean I wouldn “be motivated as personally I am motivated by factors such as rewards e.g. money. In a situation where crucial decisions needed to be made, for example when lots of customers came in, decisions are made quicker than being participative as this slows down the business through consultation making it inflexible for management and patrons. De-motivation could therefore take place as customers may complain possibly having an impact on employees in the sense jobs aren “„¢t done well. The reason why workers are motivated then depends on the type of organisation the business is. Within Virgin it could be viewed being participative is appropriate because of the nature of the industry. For instance, management at Virgin Atlantic and their cabin crew are there to be helpful and welcoming, a participative style could motivate as cabin crew are an important feature as well as feeling part of Virgin.

Virgin shows aspect of a participative manner seeing that Branson stated “I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me” (McDermott, 2010). By stepping back and encouraging participation workers would feel trust is being implemented upon them, effectively this could individually motivate as they feel valued. A sense of involvement also makes employees feel they are contributing to Virgin “„¢s success. Nevertheless, although ideas are shared, management may not take any form of action to each proposal as workers have diverse views as well as it being difficult to implement all ideas.

In planning for the organisational behaviour event (group activity) we had a participative style to which everyone contributed on what we were going to do. This leadership style was good in the sense members coming up with several ideas, during the process however; I felt this caused some minor confusion as during the night part of the group didn “„¢t turn up, which could be reference to the range of ideas recommended. In improving the event, we should have assigned a leader with more direct control over the group; this for me would have motivated me more as fewer mistakes are made in relation to more control, though other people may prefer a participative style.

An early idea on motivation in the 19th century was by Frederick Taylor who “was a believer in the rational economic concept of motivation… workers would be motivated by obtaining the highest possible wages “ (Mullins L, 2007, pg.43). An inspirational and visionary style may well be undermined in motivating as Frederick Taylor states workers are only motivated by money and it is a manager “„¢s job to tell employees what to do. In supporting his judgment Taylor did an experiment with a group of workers linking altered factors with output, drawing up the conclusion money is linked to higher output. In this sense money could be seen as a vital way for motivating; if workers work harder and produce higher production, higher pay would be rewarded as a result, making employees achieve a set target. A participative, visionary and inspirational leadership is thus unessential in motivating workforces as in Taylor “„¢s observation employees are motivated by monetary rewards. Incorporating Taylor “„¢s concept within Virgin could conversely motivate staff, as employees like high pay linked to performance. Except the negative aspect is quality of service may be affected as not all workers are liable to be motivated by money and would want visions along with inspirations to motivate. As a result if workers are unhappy the Virgin brand may be pretentious as Virgin cabin crew are an important projector of the brand image. Although scientific management is viewed as outdated and has been criticised for being too bureaucratic towards workers and the lack of flexibility involved, many organisations still use this as a mean of motivation as workers are motivated by extrinsic factors such as reward, which I personally am motivated by partially.

Visionary leadership “involves having clear goals, being sensitive to stakeholder needs and interests and inspiring them with passion and determination “ (Buchanan and Huczynski 2010 p.609). Richard Branson is disputed to have implemented visionary within virgin as he provides goals to employees on what Virgin is accomplishing, Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic stated “corporations should put their employees ahead of customers and shareholders to build sustainable businesses “ (Rex Mathew 18 November 2005), giving visions that Virgin couldn “„¢t be successful without its employee, so would motivate as workers feel appreciated and have the visions to work towards their goals. In effect “visions seem to bring about confidence on the part of employees, confidence that instils in them a belief that they are capable of performing to their full potential “ (Bennis and Goldsmith, 1997, p.108). By having clear goals employees feel motivated as they will know what is expected of them as well as what they are capable of. In this sense visions are essential in bringing out the best within employees. According to Nanus “Vision, if properly selected and implemented, is so energizing that it in effect jump starts the future by calling forth the skills, talents and resources to make it happen “ (Robbins, 2003 p.344). When applying idea of visions to my employment, this generally would motivate me as having a sense of direction makes me feel determined to achieve a certain goal set. For example, if my manager gave visions about sense of direction and where they are heading with enthusiasm this would inspire me to work harder to fulfil the satisfaction we may gain by accomplishing something. Just by managers stating their goals and the strategic action to achieve them would be a sense of vision personally.

Inspirational in an organisation is a perceived importance as an online journal titled, The Role of Inspirational Leadership in Geographically Dispersed Teams “the positive relationship between inspirational leadership and individuals’ commitment to the team and trust in team members was strengthened in teams that were more dispersed suggesting that inspirational leaders are important in all contexts but that their importance is underscored in highly dispersed contexts “ (Joshi, A, Lazarova, M. & Liao, H, 2009). This illustrates inspirational leadership is vital during motivating as management relationship are strengthen with employees to feel appreciated by the company, making workers work hard in giving something back. In my view, by being motivated workers are more satisfied producing quality services and products which can be demonstrated at Virgin. Furthermore according to a survey conducted by the chartered management institute “The power to inspire is rated highest and desirable leadership qualities. The inspirational leader connects with the led, appreciates the capabilities of others and through trust will unlock the power in others “ (Mullins 2005 p. 304).In context, inspirational can motivate as when working in a group for my marketing presentation it was the inspirations of the group and the connection that motivated me personally as we had to work together to achieve a fine advertising campaign. Having inspirations from individuals motivated me to work harder as we all strived to achieve a good end result of the advertising campaign giving me self satisfaction.

A participative, visionary and inspirational style of leadership isn “„¢t necessarily essential in motivating, for example a content theory of motivation is Maslow “„¢s hierarchy of needs; what motivates the individual. Workers need to satisfy their basic physiological needs such as pay and condition, individuals would then work towards each level to gain self satisfaction in the form of motivation. When applying this conjecture to Virgin, the strength of Maslow “„¢s theory is individuals have basic needs so applies to the majority. In theory, this resonance an effective way to motivate staff within Virgin as employees could fulfil their needs slowly working towards self actualization, for example a cabin crew may work hard to gain promotion. Yet, when applying Maslow “„¢s theory into practice, it could be a difficult process as different people have diverse needs as well as the theory being too simplistic, which may be hard to apply within an organisation. If this presumption was applied to my job, it wouldn “„¢t really work for me as it isn “„¢t a job I want to be in for a time period, therefore I wouldn “„¢t work to self actualization but personally money, as a result, some levels would motivate me in the short term though not in the long term; in future a job that motivates me personally is something of interest to me.

In talking about motivation, the human relations theory can be shown to motivate in regard to leadership styles. The human relation theory has its heredity in the Hawthorne study conducted in the late 1920 “„¢s and into the early 30 “„¢s by Elton Mayo; employees were now accepted as having social needs and interests, not as being motivated machines visualized by Taylor. The suggestion of “participative, visionary and inspirational style of leadership is essential to effectively motivate the workforce “ can then be deduced as Elton Mayo experiment showed having an interest in workers boosted their motivation level even if it was only changing lighting settings, it also outlines importance of teamwork in an organisation. When applying this theory into Virgin, the repercussion shows employees would be motivated; in the lecture a video was shown when Richard Branson visited his stores which he talks to employees and takes an interest in them, in return employees are more motivated as Virgin pays staff with a low wage, however staff produces work to a high standard to the degree it is a valuable brand name in society.

In conclusion, participative, visionary and inspirational is seen to effectively motivate, however because of convolution in different organisations and ways in employees are organised/ managed other methods are shown to motivate as alternatives to leadership styles. If Virgin were to adapt the characteristic as stated, the outcome may be a quantity of employees will perhaps not feel as motivated in comparison as all workers are different. The theories of motivation are thus dissimilar to management in practice; a theory may sound good in principle, but when applying to organisations there will be issues arising such as employees having different needs and because of this are motivated by different aspects. In addition, not all motivation of employees is to be achieved because of dissimilar desires. Businesses therefore need to consider employee motivation as an important process in achieving their objectives.


Reference list

Bennis W and Goldsmith J. (1997) Learning to lead, page 108

Billsberry J (ed.) (1996) The effective manager: perspectives and illustrations, page 43

Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) Organizational behaviour an introductory text, fifth edition, page716

Buchanan and Huczynski (2010) Organizational behaviour, seventh edition, page609

Joshi A, Lazarova M & Liao H (2009) Getting Everyone on Board: The Role of Inspirational Leadership in Geographically Dispersed Teams. Organization Science, 20(1), 240-252. [Online]Retrieved from Business Source Complete database, Available from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=8&sid=5fb20d14-bd45-4d39-8de5-204dcc9235f8%40sessionmgr14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=bth&AN=36606878#db=bth&AN=36606878 [Last accessed 5th Nov 2010]

Mathew R (2005) Put employees first: Sir Richard Branson. Available: http://www.domain-b.com/people/in_the_news/20051118_richard_branson.html [Last accessed 13th Dec 2010]

McDermott, F (ed.) (2010) To be a Leader: lessons from Richard Branson and Jesus Christ. Available: http://mcdermottsmiscellany.blogspot.com/search/label/Richard%20Branson. [Last accessed 4th Nov 2010]

Mullins L. (2005) Management and organisational behaviour, seventh edition, page 304

Mullins L. (2007) Management and organisational behaviour, eighth edition, page 43

Mullins L. (2010) Management and organisational behaviour, ninth edition, page 37

Robbins S. (ed.) (2003) Organizational behaviour, tenth edition, page 344

Thompson and Machin (2003) AS business studies, page 154


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