Laissez-faire Leadership Style
The Laissez-faire leadership style is also called leadership by delegating tasks. It is a style of leadership where a leader hands off responsibilities and allows members of a group to take control over decision-making. According to some researchers, this leadership results in the lowest productivity in most cases.
This leadership style has several characteristics.
They include the following:
- Laissez-faire leaders provide little guidance to the members of a group
- Followers or members of a group have complete freedom when it comes to making decisions
- The leader who uses a laissez-faire leadership style provides the needed resources and tools
- Members of the group that a laissez-faire leader leads are left alone and expected to solve any problem on their own
This leadership style has several benefits. It can be very effective in a group where someone is leading a group of motivated and highly skilled members. Such individuals are capable of making decisions and working without supervision. It is important to note that although conventionally the term laissez-faire leadership implies having hands off completely, most leaders remain available and open to members of their group for feedback and consultation.
Like any other leadership style, laissez-faire has its disadvantages as well. For instance, if members of a group that one is leading lack motivation, experience, or knowledge that is needed to make decisions and accomplish the required tasks, this leadership style may not work. Some employees are not good at setting deadlines and managing projects on their own.
There are also employees who cannot solve even minor problems without assistance. Some can only work efficiently and effectively under the supervision of their seniors. In such groups or situations, projects will eventually go off-track if laissez-faire leadership is used. Deadlines can also be dismissed when members of the group are not accorded enough feedback and guidance from leaders.
It is important to note that this leadership style requires an able leader. This is because the leader must select a strong team to do the required job. Selected members must also be loyal, well-trained, and committed. After selecting the group, the leader must keep members enthusiastic and motivated. Failing to do this will result in missed targets and the team will work inefficiently. The leader must also know who they can trust in the team to ensure that junior members are guided and that goals are reinforced.
Generally, laissez-faire is an interesting method of leadership where a strong leader delegates power and tasks to well-trained and loyal members of their team.
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