Many managers, supervisors, and business owners can be classified according to the leadership styles they use. There are several known leadership types, and one of these is the Laissez Faire. It’s characterized by leaders who usually give their team members full reign and don’t micro-manage them — or even manage them at all. They stay in the background, encouraging their staff to do their best and sort out issues all by themselves, although the leaders are available to those who need advice or just want to discuss an idea or a problem. The Laissez Faire leadership style can be illustrated in several examples, such as the following:
When The Team Members Are Driven And Motivated
The Laissez Faire leadership style is highly effective in teams wherein the members take pride in what they do and strive to be the best without having to be pushed. By adopting this leadership style, leaders create an atmosphere where the team members can flourish, have the freedom to exercise their creativity, and become more productive. Leaders will also avoid insulting their staff, who would most likely take offense if they would be micro-managed or be made to feel like what they’re doing isn’t adequate.
When The Team Members Are Highly Skilled And Experienced
There are times when the team members have more skill, education, training, and experience than their leader. For instance, if a department lacks a manager, the company owners might decide to hire a manager from the outside instead of promoting one from the rank-and-file. The new manager may have excellent leadership abilities, but he may not know exactly what needs to be done in the department, how tasks are processed, and when the projects are due. In this case, the manager may adopt the Laissez Faire leadership approach to let the staff do their normal jobs and keep the department going — at least until he gets his bearings and learns more about the team.
The Laissez Faire approach is also ideal for teams wherein all of the staff have high-level knowledge and skills. A team of experienced doctors, for instance, don’t need to be micro-managed and told what to do every minute since they’re already aware of how they should take care of their patients.
When The Leader Works With Outside Consultants Or Specialists
There are times when a manager or business owner would need to hire third-party consultants or specialists to help them decorate their office, train their employees, give their brand an overhaul, or tackle other tasks. In these cases, the manager or business owner is technically the “leader” of the project, but this doesn’t mean that he should tell everyone what they should do. Since he hired the consultants or specialists for their expertise, he should respect their judgment and give them the freedom to use their skills and knowledge. This way, he’ll give them the space to solve the problem and finish the project with flying colors (which is what he’s paying them to do), and he’ll have the time and energy to focus on the other aspects of his business.
These are just some of the examples of the Laissez Faire leadership style. If you’re a manager or an entrepreneur, study this style of leadership and think if it’s the right option for you.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.