Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Can Laissez-Faire Approach Work?

The laissez-faire approach to leadership is a style where the leader is hands off with employees and lets things roll off of their backs. I often wonder if this style works for leaders? I have seen this approach in a work setting and I know other leaders resent this approach. I think it is seen as weak or non-committal. After giving it some thought I do believe this approach can work.

I believe the laissez-faire leader needs to be partnered with a leader that is more stern. I feel if the two leaders can find cohesion that together they can achieve a balance in leadership styles. I think employees will come to appreciate both styles because they aren't overwhelmed by one kind of leader constantly. The stern, authoritative leader and laissez-faire leader almost have a "good cop, bad cop" situation which can be good for employees.

The danger is employees can learn to resent this style, take advantage of this kind of leader, and can set up a toxic environment. This can lead to a decrease in employee satisfaction and an increase in attrition. So as leaders does the laissez-faire style work?

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