Sir Richard Branson: Praise makes a good leader

By Aimee Shaw

Virgin Group chief executive and founder Sir Richard Branson. Photo / Getty Images
Virgin Group chief executive and founder Sir Richard Branson. Photo / Getty Images

Sir Richard Branson thinks an emphasis on praise and not criticism is the most important attribute which makes a good leader.

The business magnate told Jake Millar during an 40-minute Unfiltered interview that he believes "praise, not criticism" is the best form of leadership.

He said a lesson he learnt from his Dad was to always look for the best in people.

"He always looked for the best in everybody and would never, ever criticise anybody," Branson said. "I think praise, not criticism is the most important thing for a good leader and it works well in personal life as well."

Branson grew up in 1950 England. From an early age his parents put him and his siblings out of their comfort zones - with the expectation they achieve great things.

The founder of Virgin Group, which comprises of more than 400 companies, said business-minded people should enter the industry with the want to create change.

"People must not think 'I want to go into business so I want to become an entrepreneur,' they must think - 'is there anything in life that frustrates me? Is there anything that I think dammit, that's done so badly, maybe I can do it better'. That's all that business is and if you keep your eyes open, you are always going to see situations [to change]," he said.

"Where you see a gap in the market, one's just got to go and fill the gap and it's having the courage to say 'screw it, let's do it' and put it in to practice."

Branson said he does not believe having a support network is essential to success.

"If someone who is reading this has come from a broken up family - which about 50 per cent of people do come from - they can still do extraordinary things, but it definitely helps."

Branson told Millar despite there being far more entrepreneurs today than when he started, he said there are equal advantages.

"When I first started there was no way I could raise money from other people, now there are people who want to invest in entrepreneurs if they've got good ideas," he said. "And you've got the internet which we didn't have - it is such a powerful medium.

"I worked enormously hard, but lots of people have worked enormously hard and not achieved the kind of success I have, so again, I think luck plays a part on whether you get the breakthroughs at the right time."

Branson's advice for those starting up is to bounce ideas off of people you respect.

"Most people will actually say why something can't be done so don't necessarily be put off by their feedback - absorb that feedback. The best attribute of a leader is being a good listener," he said.

"A good idea generally stands out."

Sir Richard Branson is currently working on a number of philanthropic projects.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 27 Oct 2016 07:03:54 Processing Time: 626ms