Laissez-Faire Leadership: Meaning, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Laissez-Faire Leadership: Meaning, Advantages and Disadvantages

Laissez-faire leadership is one of the many leadership styles that can be seen in the modern business world. With the changing business technologies and changes in employee attitudes and behavior, laissez-faire leadership plays a more independent role.

Laissez-faire leadership is a type of leadership that the leaders allow the group members to make the decisions when conducting business activities. This is also considered Delegative leadership. Even though this provides more freedom for the employees to make their own decisions, it is also identified that this leadership is considered as the least productive method among team members.

However, there are certain situations where the use of laissez-faire leadership is most appropriate for the success of the organization. To support laissez-faire leadership to be more effective, the leaders can continuously check on the performance of business activities and provide feedback accordingly. It s also ideal for the leaders to identify when this type of leadership is needed in the organization. This can be used in situations such as when the members of the team are experts at their job role.

Characteristics of Laissez-faire Leadership

Below mentioned are a few characteristics of Laissez-faire leaders.

               – Provide minimum guidance to the team

               – Employees have the ability to make decisions

               – Provide constructive criticism to the employees

               – Expect the employees to solve their own problems

               – Take charge only when necessary

               – Provide access to many learning resources and tools

               – Tale responsibility for overall decisions and actions

Advantage of Laissez-faire Leadership

– Higher employee retention rate

Due to the leader’s trust in the team members, the employees often feel confident about their work and they get to enjoy the freedom of making their own decisions about the tasks they perform. This makes them want to continue working in that kind of a working environment and creates a higher employee retention rate.

– Relaxed organizational culture

Since there is no pressure from the leader about the job function decisions, the working environment can be considered relaxing. Employees are fully aware of their responsibilities and they don’t feel micromanaged. It helps them to relax, enjoy their work and interact with each other in the team while engaging in their job responsibilities.

– Improves employee creativity and business innovation

Since the employees of the organization are not pressured by micromanaging their tasks, they have the freedom to think and come up with creative and innovative ideas for the job function. This may help the business to improve productivity and provide more value to the customers.

– Accountability The meaning of the term ‘laissez-faire’ means that the subordinates are accountable for their own work. It is considered as the best way to ensure that they give their maximum effort to do their jobs well. Since they understand the importance and the tasks involved with their job role, they are accountable for getting the work done without any issues or delays.

Disadvantages of Laissez-faire Leadership

Even though there are many positive aspects of laissez-faire leadership, a few disadvantages also can be identified.

-Adaptation issues for new employees

For the employees who are new to the organization adapting to work with a Laissez-faire leader can be challenging. Making the decisions on their own and taking sole responsibility for completing job tasks can be a struggle for the new recruits as they need more guidance and direction until they get themselves adjusted to the working environment.

– Lack of support and structure

Under this type of leadership, it is common to see there is a minimum level of support and structure for the subordinates.  Since the leadership structure is very hands-off, the work processes do not often happen to a set plan. It can create difficulties for the employees to navigate through the business process.

– Accountability passing

Since there is no direct supervision from the leader, there are certain instances that the accountability of certain tasks is passed around the employees in the team. It is also difficult to take accountability as a group or a team as their work is very individual.

– Confusion about the leadership

Since there is the minimum direct involvement of the leader for business tasks, there can be confusion about who is in charge in situations. It can lead to miscommunications and negative impacts on the business processes.

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