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What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership?

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Laissez-faire leadership

Laissez-faire leadership involves giving group members the freedom to make their own decisions.

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Question: What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership?
Answer:

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.

Characteristics of Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is characterized by:

  • Very little guidance from leaders
  • Complete freedom for followers to make decisions
  • Leaders provide the tools and resources needed
  • Group members are expected to solve problems on their own

Benefits of Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership can be effective in situations where group members are highly skilled, motivated and capable of working on their own. 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.

Downsides of Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is not ideal in situations where group members lack the knowledge or experience they need to complete tasks and make decisions. Some people are not good at setting their own deadlines, managing their own projects and solving problems on their own. In such situations, projects can go off-track and deadlines can be missed when team members do not get enough guidance or feedback from leaders.

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References:
Lewin, K., Liippit, R. and White, R.K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301

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