Leaders we admire…

23rd May 2019

By his own admission, Virgin customers are not his top priority. His employees are.

Richard Branson has always been crystal clear on his business philosophy. Employees first, customers second and shareholders third. Because in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.That’s probably why the transformational Richard Branson is loved by his staff. And, why the Virgin brand’s net worth is several billion.

And he’s not on his own. Other leaders who are lauded as being transformational include Barack Obama and Bill Gates – because of their popular leadership style. Bill Gates led Microsoft to successful global status and created long term sustainable growth for the company. Whereas Barack Obama’s compassion and sense of understanding towards his employees, made him so approachable, it greatly increased the efficiency of his entire administration.

It’s clear then, that having the right people at the helm is what transforms businesses – because of their ability to transform people on a personal and emotional level. These leaders are effective with the words they use. They’re effective in creating big shifts in thinking. They’re effective in creating big shifts in behaviours. It’s this that motivates people to achieve extraordinary results.

So, what does this say about a transactional style of leadership? Well, it’s different. Businesses still get results, but the relationship between a leader and their people is based on ‘if you do this, then I’ll give you that’. For example, during tough times, the immediate reaction of a leader may be to push their staff harder to try and achieve results – whereas a transformational boss would deal with the root cause of the problem. Transactional tactics may work in the short term, but in the longer term, the success of the business is likely to be disadvantaged because of low staff moral and engagement, a lack of trust and fears for the future stability of their jobs.

In a similar vein to Richard Branson, our business philosophy is built around people. It’s in our DNA. After all, people don’t engage with a business – they engage with the people who work in those businesses. What we do best is transform the way business leaders think, feel, act and speak about health, safety and the wellbeing of their people. It’s this that delivers transformational changes across behaviours, systems and organisational practices, on a global scale.

Richard’s right. Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.

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