Laissez-faire means "let it be" or "leave it alone". In general, it means leaders leave all the responsibilities on their subordinates in any manner they choose, without following any hard and fast policies or procedures.
Leadership has been descried as the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this. It has also been defined as a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common goal or a task. There are many different leadership styles and great leaders choose such a style that fits in the situations appropriately. However, as we know that everything has both positive and negative sides, so it goes with leadership styles as well. Let us discuss briefly the pros and cons of Laissez-Faire leadership style.
Laissez-faire leadership style is also known as delegative or Free Rein leadership style. It is basically characterized by little guidance from the leader.
It may not be going to an extreme to say that this is such a style under which there is no leadership. While the subordinates are provided with necessary resources, they are not guided. They are allowed to make decisions on their own. Since they are allowed to make their own decisions, it is expected from them that they should solve the problems by themselves as well. One of the most obvious benefits of Laissez-faire or free rein leadership style is that it provides positive effects on job satisfaction and results in to enhancing their morale. The subordinates are expected to take initiatives of what they need to do or perform so as to produce results. It thus gives a complete freedom to the subordinates. It must be noted that the subordinates are expected to be capable of performing their jobs in a way as wanted on the basis of their knowledge and skills; so it is considered that they can accomplish their tasks independently and yet successfully. However, this style is effective if the subordinates are experienced and fully committed to their objectives.
Not everything is in its absolute perfection, so is not this style to be considered as the best. There are some aspects that lead us to consider the shortcomings that are associated with this style. True that the Laissez-faire or free rein leadership style is a great way to allow the team members to make the decisions and it lets them do their tasks independently. It is proper up to an extent at which it may be observed that the results are being produced as has been expected off. What if the members are not fully devoted to their work; If they are not devoted to work and the intended results are not in accordance with the expectations, the consequences will lead to create adverse effects. Lack of direction causes ambiguities to the employees. The leader is held responsible for unfavorable results, as it shows his incompetency in leading his people. Besides, it may be considered as not suitable if the subordinates are not knowledgeable and skilled and experienced. Thus, these are some downsides of this leadership style.
However, it must be noted that leadership should not be solely or specifically confined to a particular style. A leader should choose the style in accordance with the situation that demands. The indication of an effective leadership is that it moves from one style to another as the situation demands or dictates. Thus, being an effective leader necessitates having a broad collection of styles while being fully aware of appropriate powers to be used in an organization.
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