These are Richard Branson’s tips on how to spot a strong leader from a weak one

The ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach may have been a viable business option 20 years ago but to stand still today is to go backwards, says Richard Branson.

He’s spent almost 50 years in business, successfully running hundreds of companies including those under the well-known Virgin brand.

And if it’s anyone to know better about what makes a good leader, it’s Richard Branson who’s probably met and dealt with a smorgasbord of different personality types in his time.

In a Nov 17 post on Virgin’s website, Branson, 67, shared insights on how to spot a strong leader from a weak one.

He also shared the post on his LinkedIn profile and here’s a breakdown of what he had to say:

What makes a strong leader:

“Strong leaders must have vision, creativity and, most importantly, the ability to influence others to support them in the challenges of moving an organisation into unchartered territory. Good leadership is about taking ventures forward and finding new avenues where the business can evolve and prosper.”

What poor leaders are like:

“Poor leadership typically tends to be static, much more about protecting the status quo and resting on laurels. This ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach may have been a viable business model 20 years ago, but at the frenetic pace of business today it is no longer an option. To stand still today is to go backwards – quickly. “

He said that while outstanding leadership can come in a “huge range of packages”, poor leadership usually shows common denominators – and you probably already know the warning signs.

For instance, a leader with a reputation for staying out of everyone’s way and letting staff get on with their jobs could either be a “highly skilled delegator” or someone who just avoids confrontation.

“While few people – myself included – genuinely enjoy confrontational situations when they arise, dealing with them in a timely manner is an important part of effective leadership,” he wrote.

There are also leaders who veer away from anything that might cause a disagreement because they think this makes them more likeable to their employees or maybe they don’t have the technical know-how to tackle the problem.

He wrote: “Unfortunately, failing to confront a problem while it’s at the smouldering stage more often than not leads to it becoming a fully-fledged fire that is much harder to extinguish and can do a lot of long-term damage.”

So the question is: What type of leader are you?