IntroductionBefore a leader can be analysed, one must define what leadership is. This ishard to do. It’s an intrinsic trait which is hard to define. Jackson and Parry (2008: 5)say that ‘leadership is like beauty – it is difficult to describe, but we certainly know itwhen we see it.' However, the general consensus is that leadership is influencing people in order to attain goals (Daft, 2008: 590).The leader that will be analysed in this essay is Richard Branson, who runsand owns the Virgin Group. He has demonstrated his leadership skills from the earlyage of just seventeen, when he set up a student magazine, that was aptly named,
. Even earlier than this, he showed entrepreneurial skills, growing Christmastrees and selling budgies, although these plans failed (Grint, 2000: 49).Richard Branson was born, the first of three children, in July 1950 to EdwardBranson, a barrister, and Eva Huntley-Flindt, an air hostess (Grint, 2000: 48). It wasthrough hard work and perseverance that helped Richard Branson become one of theUK’s most recognisable leaders and a renowned business leader worldwide.The fact that Branson had to work hard to get to the top of his game is relevantto him as a leader. His business ventures have not always gone to plan, as shownabove through his selling of Christmas trees and budgies, nor did he inherit a familyfirm.His main reason for setting up
was to make money. While themagazine never made any money, he managed to get businesses to part with £6,000for advertising space. Even though the magazine failed in terms of profits, Bransonled his team by getting them to work for no payment, simply by incorporating fun intothis business venture (Grint, 2000: 50). This means that at the age of just eighteen,Branson was demonstrating leadership skills typical of someone far beyond his years.