The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

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The French term laissez-faire has originally been associated with the fields of politics and economics. It describes a system where the there is complete absence of governmental intervention in the economy. When it comes to leadership, this word takes on a slightly different meaning. “The laissez-faire leader is one who believes in freedom of choice for the employees, leaving them alone so they can do as they want” (Goodnight, 2011), p-822. This style can be described as a hands-off approach (Stanfield, 2009). This leadership style is one where the leader provides minimalistic information and resources needed to finish the tasks. At the extreme end of laissez-faire leadership, goals and objectives may not be shared, even if they are shared…show more content…
However in some situations, where the employee has gained complete understanding in his field of work and has proved time and again decision making capabilities, he may be better off with a laissez-faire leader (Goodnight, 2011). Laissez-faire leadership style is essentially the absence of any leadership. Here the leader avoids all responsibility by keeping himself preoccupied thereby being absent when employees seek support and direction. This style should be differentiated from empowering leadership as here, the leader gives no advice is given as to how to achieve objectives even when the performance…show more content…
Numerous studies have been conducted on this topic. Most seem to point that this leadership style is the most ineffective leadership style. Women are expected to less laissez-faire in their leadership style than men. A study conducted by Jones and Rudd in 2008 on the most preferred leadership styles amongst academic program heads of colleges of agriculture and life sciences in America found that laissez-faire was the least preferred leadership style. In 2008, Erkutlu observed employees and managers of boutique hotels to discover that Laissez-faire style was negatively related to satisfaction at work and organisational effectiveness. “Hence, laissez-faire should be considered a form of destructive leadership” (Einarsen, Aasland, & Skogstad, 2007)p-215. Another aspect is which needs to be examined, is the relation between laissez-faire leaders and their emotional intelligence. In order to investigate the relation between emotional intelligence of senior level managers and their respective leadership styles, research was conducted. It was found that laissez-fair leadership style had a negative correlation with emotional intelligence. Leaders which are absent when needed tend to have a low emotional intelligence. The study further went
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