I ran across this interview with Richard Branson–the noted entrepreneur–in a response to the Steve Jobs biography where Jobs is described as being dictatorial and critical of employees. Branson says that delegation and compassion are the keys to running his $18 billion revenue Virgin empire.
Quotes the article: This philosophy is why Branson has so much time for games and charity:
I devote most of my time to activities like The Elders [A South-African NGO], but I make it a point to take care of things that are important to Virgin, like hiring its key executives. I interviewed Josh Bayliss, the Group’s CEO, in the back seat of my car while waiting in a traffic jam that lasted almost two hours. Now, he makes money so I can spend it. Learning to delegate is vital in business. You have to be willing to let people do good things and let make them mistakes…
I think that criticising people is counter-productive. A good leader is someone who praises a person for his or her best efforts, not someone who criticises. People know when they make mistakes. Of course, sometimes I just can’t resist and end up saying something, but never more than once. The secret of success is finding good people.