Courageous and empowering leadership

By September 29, 2014General
Love him or loathe him, you’ve got to admit it, Richard Branson is an ambitious and innovative leader. This week, at Questions of Difference we just happen to love him!

In case you missed it, Mr Branson has just announced that some Virgin employees are now free to take as much holiday as they like. Employees can take leave from their jobs when they like without seeking permission, as long as the timing of their break will not have a detrimental impact on the business. In his blog on the Virgin website, he says “It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!”

Many of us will have worked for, and with, a variety of managers over the years, and rightly or wrongly their leadership style will have an impact on our own behaviour. Trust us, involve us and empower us and we feel that the business is our own, putting every last drop of energy in. Micro-manage us and the outcome is rarely as good. Richard Branson’s idea is a great demonstration of trust – and if the culture really is as empowering as this idea suggests, in reality it is unlikely to lead to a truly committed workforce taking more holiday.

Creating an environment where employees feel committed to your business and are able to perform at their very best is a very powerful way to boost results. Thinking about your own organisation, is the balance right between rules and freedoms? Do you have a culture that encourages exceptional performance? We would love to hear about your experience. Do share your thoughts by responding to this blog or get in touch.