What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership?

Management Style: Guide to Laissez-Faire Leadership

What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership?

A laissez-faire leadership style has a hands-off approach to management and leaves employees in charge of decision making. However, the company vision and objectives will already be in place.

A laissez- faire leadership style is desirable because it gives employees autonomy, which is a greater motivator for people in the workplace today, replacing survival and rewards as primary motivators.

Warren Buffett is one of those people who has had a lot of success with the laissez faire leadership model. In the Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 Annual Report, Buffett said, “We tend to let our many subsidiaries operate on their own, without our supervising and monitoring them to any degree.

Most managers use the independence we grant them magnificently, by maintaining an owner-oriented attitude.”

During Queen Victoria’s reign, Britain was a leading world power. Some people have attributed that to her laissez-faire leadership approach. The government mostly stayed business affairs unless necessary and vice versa. While it might look laissez-faire leaders just sit back and let their teams do all the work, there is a lot more involved and not just anyone is suited to this role.

They are excellent recruiters

As the team in the laissez-faire leadership model is crucial, this is important. It is not enough to get the smartest people, leaders are also able to pick those who can work well with others. As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings put it, they do not tolerate ‘brilliant jerks’; those individuals who are good at their jobs but affect the group dynamic.

They are resourceful

As their main role after recruitment is to support their teams, these leaders have to be adept at finding solutions without interfering with their employees’ work. This should be a skill that they can pass on to their teams so that they in turn can learn to solve problems creatively.

They are great at delegating

This hands-off management approach means that leaders have to be comfortable letting others be in charge. This doesn’t mean totally disengaging but rather focusing on the bigger picture.

This is easy to do when you hire the right people.

As Steve jobs once said; “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

They are confident

This enables leaders to step aside and let their employees work without making them (the leaders) feel irrelevant. It also comes in to play with trusting that they made the right hiring decisions and recruited people who will achieve results. Confidence is also contagious and if it rubs off on the teams, that can only be a positive.

A big part of attaining success under this model is by hiring the right people. Some characteristics of laissez-faire employees include the following:

They are independent and can self-manage. These types of people are able to set up schedules, having broken down a job into small tasks, and follow them.

They have strong problem solving skills and the ability to look at obstacles from different angles. The Mckinsey problem solving framework details steps to sharpen problem solving skills.

They are highly skilled but are open to continuous learning.

They trust their employees

After a rigorous hiring process to zero down on candidates who can self-manage, are highly skilled and require minimal supervision, it would be a waste not to trust them.

They invest in training

Laissez-faire leadership is hands off but it doesn’t mean leaving employees hanging. This leadership model requires equipping employees with the tools to do their work. This might be in the way of upgrading education skills, on job training and more.

Mistakes are spring boards

Fear of failure stifles innovation and creativity. That is why laissez-faire leaders foster workplaces where mistakes are not job threatening. Instead, they are viewed as experiments to be improved on or ones that lead to the next innovation.

The leader is held accountable

The previous points all support this one. Because the leader will be accountable at the end of the day, the employees have the freedom to focus on their work.

Image: Unsplash

It gives employees a lot of room to grow

Because the leadership is so hands off, the employees have a chance to be hands on. This environment facilitates growth and development. Workers put their skills to the test and can improve them. In addition, the freedom employees get can encourage creativity and innovation.

It frees the leader up to focus on other things

Because leaders are not constantly monitoring their staff, they have a chance to be productive in other areas of the business. They can take on new projects and also prioritise their own growth and development.

Faster decision making

In some management styles, there are several approval steps which can be can be frustrating and affect productivity. Employees under laissez-faire leadership have the autonomy to make their own decisions.

It creates a high level of job satisfaction

With the added autonomy, employees feel they are in charge of and are masters of their futures.

The leader may be seen to be indifferent

Depending on how the leader conducts himself or herself, they may be seen as uncaring and unconcerned. With no one to look to for guidance, this attitude can spread to the team members as well causing them to be apathetic about projects.

Undefined roles within a team

Ideally, you will have people of different expertise in each team. If a manager did not clearly define the channels to communicate with him/her, team members may look to each other for a leader. This can create a number of conflicts, from someone appearing to boss the rest around, to the team gravitating to an individual not equipped to provide leadership.

Loss of accountability

The leader is meant to take responsibility. This can lead to a recklessness among teams because they know they are insulated. On the extreme end, the leader can also unload the accountability role on the individuals in the teams. This will create a fear of taking risks and negatively affect output.

In Summary

While laissez-faire leadership works well in some creative industries it is dependent on both the teams and their leaders. To balance out most of the cons it is important to have strong communication.

Employees need to have ways to reach their leaders. And the leader needs to be able to instill team meetings and one-on-one check-ins with individuals to stay on top of the projects and offer guidance where needed.

laissez-faire leadership

Источник: https://inside.6q.io/laissez-faire-leadership/

Understanding the Laissez-Faire Leadership Style and What Makes It So Effective

What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership?

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Laissez-faire is a French word that translates into English as “leave alone“. This implies letting things thing happen without any interference. Therefore, a laissez-faire leader would be someone with a “hands-off” approach to managing and leading followers or subordinates.

A primary reason why some leaders adopt a laissez-faire leadership style is that they have complete trust in their ability of those under them. You won’t find laissez-faire leaders micromanaging or getting too involved in the activities of their subordinates.

Instead, they help them achieve their goals by encouraging the use of skills, available resources, and innovation. Some of the most prominent and successful laissez-faire leaders include Warren Buffett, Queen Victoria, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Mellon.

Here, I look to provide you with an understanding of the laissez-faire leadership style and what can make it so effective using the available literature on the subject, examples, and case studies.

What Is the Laissez-Faire Leadership Style?

Laissez-faire leadership grants full freedom to subordinates or followers to function how they want and with what they want; a laissez-faire leader leaves followers with as many roles and choices as possible.

Laissez-faire management, the financial system, is characterized by a will to let people operate without interference. This style may or may not work for you. The best leaders used a battery of leadership styles that are useful for different situations.

I will give you some tips on how to make the Laissez-faire leadership style work if you choose to give it a shot.

Adopting this leadership style means giving the team full power and freedom. With laissez faire leadership, you provide your team with the requisite tools and resources to perform their duties, but how they carry out their duties will be up to them. In order words, they will be free to make their choices.

While it is not acceptable in every scenario, laissez-faire leadership can be an effective way to lead, provided the circumstances favor such an approach to leadership. One example of this is the construction of the Panama Canal.

Initiated in 1904, the construction of the Panama Canal was one of the most groundbreaking projects of the early 20th century. The project was headed by the then U.S President Theodore Roosevelt. The construction of the Panama Canal in 1914 was an engineering feat worth celebrating because the project was complete successfully despite being plagued by accidents and geographical hurdles.

However, the Panama Canal would have never materialized if President Roosevelt did not have the willingness to delegate responsibilities and decision-making to those having the necessary skills and experience for the job.

Although “laissez-faire” is the traditional term for this style and suggests a fully hands-off attitude, many leaders remain accessible to and free for followers or subordinates seeking guidance and feedback. Laissez-faire leadership, un conventional authoritarian leadership, is not rigid. Instead, this leadership approach is distinguished by the following characteristics:

1. Effective Delegation

Leaders using this approach are able to delegate each job or assignment to the most skilled worker. This is critical because proper delegation is critical to the productivity of the workplace.

2. Freedom of Choice

As long as workers perform tasks effectively, those who work under laissez-faire leadership are free to decide how they want to get the job done.

3. Sufficient Resources and Tools

Although each worker is free to decide the procedures to use to complete the work, laissez-faire leaders generally have the willingness and ability to provide each person with all the materials and resources required to complete each activity optimally.

4. Constructive Criticism

Despite the fact that workers are free to make their own choices, laissez-faire leaders are prepared to offer constructive feedback when required.

5. Taking Control As Needed

Although workers are given full freedom and are free to make their own choices, laissez-faire leaders can step in and take control of matters if there is an urgent need for it.

While a laissez-faire leadership style is effective in many situations, it generally requires having full faith in the abilities and “commitment to the cause” of the followers or subordinates.

Leaders need to feel assured that, without being micromanaged, those under them can utilize their expertise and experience to get the job done. This is the reason a laissez-faire leadership style has both its advantages and disadvantages.

Some of them are briefly discussed below.

The Benefits of Being a Laissez-Faire Leader

The following are some key benefits of being a laissez-Faire Leader:

Encourage Personal Growth—Since leaders have a hands-off approach to management, workers have an opportunity and incentive to be hands-on. Therefore, this style of leadership creates an atmosphere that makes learning and development easier and faster.

Encourage Innovation—Inventiveness and innovation can be stimulated by the independence granted to workers.

Allow for Faster Decision-Making—The absence of micromanagement means that those under laissez-faire leadership are encouraged to make their own choices. They can make decisions quickly without having to wait a long time for approval.

The Drawbacks of Laissez-Faire Leadership

The laissez-faire approach relies too strongly on the group’s skills. Therefore, it is not very reliable in situations where the followers lack the expertise or experience needed to perform tasks and make decisions.

Perhaps, this is the reason a 2007 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology finds it laissez-faire as a destructive leadership style.

The following are some of the main reasons to forgo a laissez-faire leadership style:

No Clarity of Role—The laissez-faire approach contributes to loosely established responsibilities within the team in certain situations. Because team members get little or no instruction, they might not even be sure about their position within the team and what they are expected to do with their time.

Poor Involvement with the Group—Laissez-faire leaders are frequently seen as unengaged and detached, which can contribute to the group’s lack of cohesion.

Low Accountability—Some leaders use this approach as a way to escape accountability for the shortcomings of the group. The leader will then hold group members responsible for not completing assignments or meeting standards when objectives are not achieved.

Final Word

As seen above, the laissez-faire leadership style has both advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you will need to weigh the pros of this leadership style against its cons to determine whether adopting this approach to leadership is a good option for you.

One suggestion would be having a more hands-on approach to leadership when group members are unaware of their roles or responsibilities.

As group members gain more experience and become aware of their work, you may adopt a more delegated approach, such as a laissez-faire leadership style.

One of the Top 100 Coaches, and Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, partner to Newsweek on America’s Most Loved Workplaces, and the author of more than 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide.

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Источник: https://louiscarter.com/laissez-faire-leadership/

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