Laissez-faire leadership, also known as delegative leadership, is a type of leadership style in which leaders are hands-off and allow group members to make the decisions. Researchers have found that this is generally the leadership style that leads to the lowest productivity among group members.
However, it is important to recognize that this leadership style can have both benefits and possible pitfalls. There are also certain settings and situations where a laissez-faire leadership style might be the most appropriate. Knowing your dominant leadership style can be helpful for understanding your own strengths and potential weakness.
Characteristics of Laissez-Faire Leadership –
Laissez-faire leadership is characterized by the following:
Leaders provide all training and support Decisions are left to employees Comfortable with mistakes Accountability falls to the leader
While the conventional term for this style is “laissez-faire” and implies a completely hands-off approach, many leaders still remain open and available to group members for consultation and feedback. They might provide direction at the beginning of a project, but then allow group members to do their jobs with little oversight.
This approach to leadership requires a great deal of trust.2 Leaders need to feel confident that the members of their group possess the skills, knowledge, and follow through to complete a project without being micromanaged.