While every leader works to bring out the best in their team, each leadership role is different. Most leaders push their team through strict deadlines and instructions. Alternatively, some empower their team by welcoming their suggestions.
The Laissez-Faire Leadership model, also known as the Free-rein Leadership Style allows the workers to work more efficiently considering their reliance and trust in them. Such leaders guide their team members and give them the power to make decisions. However, it also has some disadvantages. Let’s tell you about Laissez-Faire leadership’s advantages and disadvantages in depth.
What is Laissez Faire Leadership?
The term Laissez-Faire literally translates to “let it go” or “let it be.” So, the Laissez-Faire leadership style focuses on letting go. It refers to letting go of the responsibilities and power as a leader. The managers do not get too involved in the tasks and allow their employees to use their creativity and experience. Such leaders are confident in the skills of their employees. They offer to lead their team by enabling them to give their input. Free-rein Leadership Style leaders provide guidance and take responsibility for their team’s tasks. Yet, many times the managers do not guide their workers properly, leading to issues within the team.
Characteristics of Laissez Faire Leadership
Some of the basic characteristics of Laissez-Faire Leadership include
- More input from the teammates
- Enabling employees to make decisions
- Access to tools and resources
- Guidance from the leaders
- Leaders taking responsibility for their team’s actions
Laissez Faire Leadership Advantages
Encourages Personal Growth
When working with Laissez-Faire leaders, the teammates get to move forward in their profession more efficiently. Laissez-Faire Leadership allows the employees to experience the processes first-hand. The workers gain more skills by understanding the processes and working on them directly without managerial pressure.
Creates More Leaders
Giving people an opportunity to work on their own enables the employees to gain leadership skills. Many members of the team work together towards one objective. This combined input brings out the potential in each person. Some of them come up as leaders who guide and help the rest of the team. Free-rein Leadership Style has the potential to climb up the ladder to gain managerial-level positions.
One thing a workplace must teach you is independence and decision-making. It is one of the most noticeable laissez-faire leadership advantages. This leadership model pushes the teammates to give their suggestions and make decisions where needed. Many people in such arrangements like to work on their own, and the absence of pressure from their seniors gives them that working space. They can work on their own, learn better, and excel in their career.
Typically managers and leaders are the final decision-makers in a centralized organization system. Thus, the working style of a department remains the same throughout the years. Yet, when Laissez-Faire leaders encourage the employees to think creatively, they come up with many innovative ideas for the company. These suggestions may sometimes prove highly beneficial for the organization.
Enables Quick Decision Making
Another Free-rein Leadership Style advantage is how it facilitates quick decisions. This leadership model does not only offer independence and decision–making powers to the workers. It also makes sure everything runs smoothly and quickly within the company through faster decision-making. The absence of micromanagement in the Laissez-Faire management system eradicates the need for approvals.
Provides Job Satisfaction
It is no news that people get tired of their bosses bossing around. Reports show that 82% of workers would consider quitting their jobs because of a bad manager. One of the best laissez-faire leadership advantages is that it makes the employees love their workplace. It instills a sense of ownership in the people, and they work towards company success wholeheartedly.
The disadvantage of Laissez-faire Leadership
Lack Of Leadership Role
Laissez-Faire Leadership is considered a passive leadership approach as it enables the team members to act as leaders. It fails to designate the role of the decision-maker to one person. Sometimes, the employees might not be sure of their role in the team and not use their abilities to the best. Often the decisions may not be the most suitable either.
Typically, the managers of a Free-rein Leadership Style do not guide new teammates, unlike functional, project, or matrix organizational systems (Check its pros and cons). The lack of guidance may allow older employees to manipulate the new ones into their choice of tasks.
Laissez-Faire management enables the employees to make decisions without waiting for the manager’s approval. While it speeds up the process, it also increases the chances of mistakes. As the new people in the team are sometimes not given proper guidance, they do not hold themselves accountable for the wrong decisions. The lack of accountability affects the morale of other team members.
Isolation Within Team
This structure also brings along some disadvantages of laissez-faire leadership. When each team member is allowed to work within their comfort zone, they might prefer working individually. They may get habitual to working on their own terms and not want to work cohesively with the team when needed.
At times, the employees do not use this leadership structure to their benefit. Instead, they abuse leadership which is the worst laissez-faire leadership disadvantage. In such situations, the leaders do not supervise and motivate the employees. Meanwhile, the team members also do not feel like putting effort when they are not acknowledged.
How to Improve Laissez-Faire Leadership?
Laissez-faire leadership is an excellent leadership model if implemented correctly. Here are a few tips to improve the implementation of laissez-faire leadership in your organization.
- Motivate your team members and acknowledge their efforts.
- Keep an eye on the activity of the employees and give feedback.
- Guide newcomers to help them understand their role better.
- Offer incentives to deserving employees based on their performance.
The Bottom Line
Laissez-Faire Leadership is perfect if your company prefers flexible, growth-oriented organizational structures. It allows your employees to work independently, make decisions, gain leadership skills and enjoy what they do. However, Laissez Faire Leadership or Free-rein Leadership Advantages And Disadvantages go hand in hand. A few cons of this leadership format include the lack of leadership and role clarity, lack of accountability, and abuse of leadership by the managers. It is best to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of Laissez-Faire Leadership before implementing it in your company.
Matthew is a Co-Founder at BusinessFinanceArticles.org. Matthew was a floor manager at a local restaurant in Wales. He lost his job after the pandemic and took initiative to make a team and start the project.