A person with a serious work ethic understands that he or she is part of a larger effort to achieve a vision. To ensure that you and your colleagues are all rowing in the same direction, you need to make the effort to communicate with your team, dealing with them fairly and honestly. Often times, opportunities for collaboration or new business ideas arise from these honest conversations.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is known for his team-oriented leadership. When he was building Virgin Group in the 1990s, he took an unconventional approach in leadership, putting “staff first, customers second, and shareholders third,” according to his book The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership.
One way this approach played out was in the creation of Virgin Australia, which Branson recounts in his book. He writes about hearing positive reports about an employee named Brett Godfrey, whom he never met but knew worked in a financial capacity for the beleaguered (and short-lived) Virgin Express airline based in Brussels. The company had gone through three CEOs over the course of 12 months and were plagued by problems with the union. In fact, it was someone in union leadership who had recommended Godfrey to Branson as a steadying candidate for CEO of Virgin Express. So Branson offered Godfrey the job.
However, Godfrey, originally from Australia, turned it down, citing his desire to move back to his native country. Branson, disappointed, asked him to let him know if he ever wanted to do something in Australia.
It turns out, Godfrey had ambitions to start an airline in Australia. He showed Branson his business plan, which had already been rejected by the Virgin Express executive team in Brussels. Branson, ignited by the creativity and fire he saw in Godfrey’s plan, gave him the greenlight.
The rest is Virgin history. Godfrey went back to Australia to create his own team to lead Virgin Blue (which became Virgin Australia). Branson writes, “Our initial $10 million investment … turned out to be one of the smartest we have ever made.” (Godfrey recently left his position as CEO of Virgin Australia.)
Related: Five Bad Working Habits I Kicked For A Better Work Ethic