Laissez Faire Leadership Style: Advantages, Disadvantages and Examples

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Laissez Faire Leadership Style: Advantages, Disadvantages and Examples

Leaders play a crucial role in an organization, and their leadership style varies based on their attributes and personality traits. Some leaders focus on one-to-one development, while others are visionary and big-picture strategists.

Laissez faire leadership, which means ‘Let it be’ or ‘Leave it alone’, is a unique style that allows employees to make decisions without providing detailed instructions. This approach suits individuals who prefer independent work and industries that encourage creativity. However, researchers have found that laissez-faire leadership often leads to the lowest productivity among group members. Despite its challenges, laissez-faire leadership has its benefits, such as increased productivity and job satisfaction.

What Is Laissez Faire Leadership?

Laissez faire leadership, also known as delegative leadership, is a leadership style that considers the strengths and talents of each employee when deciding who should work on a task or project. This approach allows employees to choose how to perform their work and meet the company’s goals, as long as their actions do not harm or conflict with the organization’s interests. This style suits industries requiring creativity and innovation, such as arts, technology, and entertainment.

Laissez-faire leaders allow their followers to have autonomy to make their own decisions and manage their desks, providing support, guidance, consultation, and training when needed. They are comfortable delegating tasks and are held accountable for the group’s mistakes and successes. The focus is on freedom, empowering employees to make their own decisions and manage their work as they see fit. This style is the opposite of micromanaging and is suitable for industries that require creativity and innovation.

Characteristics of the  laissez faire leadership style

Advantages of Laissez Faire Leadership

It has the following advantages:


Every employee is accountable for their work and performance under a laissez-faire management style. This makes it more likely that employees will take on responsibility for their assigned tasks and do their best to accomplish their goals. However, it is important to remember that final accountability for an organisation’s work still rests with senior management or the leadership team.

Ideal environment for creatives

A workplace where employees must think creatively may work well with laissez-faire leadership. A company may want employees to think innovatively to create new products, launch a marketing campaign or complete an artistic project. Employees may accomplish these tasks more efficiently with the freedom to work independently.

Loyalty to the employer

If employees feel responsible for their work or their employer welcomes their unique input, they are likely to feel more attached to the organisation they work for. This may encourage an employee to stay with the company for a longer period

Personal Growth and Motivation

Because leaders are hands-off, employees can embrace personal growth and stay highly motivated.

Learning and Development

It facilitates learning and development opportunities. Because of its hands-off approach, employees have the chance to learn on their own. They will gain on-the-job experience faster.


Freedom of decision-making encourages innovation among employees. Employees with great skills and experience would not want to stay in a dominant environment. When they have the freedom to work, their productivity automatically elevates.

Faster Decision-Making

It helps with faster decision-making because there is no micromanagement. Employees are autonomous to make decisions and address problems without approval.

To benefit from the advantages, one has to meet a few conditions. For example,- If you have a highly skilled team that is expert enough to work independently, this approach will work very well. Leaders who follow the laissez-faire approach- have employees who can work independently and achieve organizational success with minimum guidance.

Disadvantage of Laissez Faire Leadership

Some disadvantages of a laissez-faire leadership style include:

Work can get duplicated

Managerial oversight or structured procedures sometimes help employees to carry out work more efficiently. For example, a home insurance company may use a specific procedure when an employee hires a contractor to repair damage in a customer’s home. Laissez-faire leadership in this environment could create a situation where the correct procedure is not always followed, requiring an employee to revisit the task to complete it properly.

Unclear decision-making process

When employees work independently, it can prove difficult to determine who has overall responsibility for a decision or a project. For example, a marketing professional tasked with preparing promotional material for a public event will benefit from close consultation with the event organiser to ensure the material they create is appropriate. An event manager who leaves a marketer to do their own thing without providing adequate input may receive promotional material that does not reflect what the event is about.

Lack of structure

An absence of structure can be detrimental to the workplace if it causes employees to feel uncertain about what they should be doing or unclear about their tasks. Laissez-faire leaders, therefore, must balance their desire to give freedom to their employees to work independently with the need to provide appropriate levels of guidance and direction to ensure that projects and tasks are completed efficiently.

Employees feel overwhelmed

Employees working under a laissez-faire manager may not know when and how to seek support. This can create problems if the staff member thinks they are being left to deal with tasks or responsibilities that they cannot manage. Managers can counter this challenge by communicating effectively with their employees, so they know when they need to step in and help.


Since the team receives very little guidance, they might get confused about the clarity of the role and job they must perform.


Too much independence can lead to isolation and affect team-building opportunities. Since the leader is not always available, employees tend to show less care and concern toward their projects.

Low Accountability

Some incompetent leaders take this up as an escape from their low accountability. When goals are not met, leaders can easily blame the team and employees.


At worst, laissez-faire shows passivity or avoidance of true leadership. In these cases, leaders fail to motivate, recognize, or appraise the team for their efforts.


Why was laissez-faire ineffective?

The laissez-faire economic system has been criticized for its ineffectiveness due to several factors. These include the concentration of wealth in fewer hands, the lack of regulation, the inequality of wealth and income, the imbalance between public goods and positive externalities, and the lack of effective leadership. The laissez-faire system can lead to the over-consumption of goods with negative externalities, such as pollution, and the under-consumption with positive externalities, such as education.

Additionally, laissez-faire leaders are seen as ineffective and fail to handle responsibilities, leading to a perception of ineffectiveness. The decline in popularity of the laissez-faire doctrine in the late 19th century was largely due to industrial growth and mass-production techniques, demonstrating the inadequacy of the laissez-faire doctrine as a guiding philosophy. This led to the rise of Keynesian economics in the early 20th century.


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