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Delegate and Disappear?

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

The French term "laissez-faire" translates to "let them do". Leaders who use this style focus mostly on delegating many tasks to team members and providing little to no supervision. Because a laissez-faire leader does not spend their time intensely managing employees, they often have more time to dedicate to other projects.

Managers may adopt this leadership style when all team members are highly experienced, well-trained and require little oversight. However, it can also cause a dip in productivity if employees are confused about their leader’s expectations, or if some team members need consistent motivation and boundaries to work well.

On the surface, a laissez-faire leader may appear to trust people to know what to do, but taken to the extreme, an uninvolved leader may end up appearing to just 'delegate and disappear'. While it's beneficial to give people opportunities to spread their wings, with a total lack of direction, people may unwittingly drift in the wrong direction, away from the critical goals of the organization. Therefore, it is important that this leadership style is kept in check. In a crisis situation, when the team needs someone to step up to give clear instructions and ensure strict compliance, the leader must be able to switch to autocratic style.

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