4. Laissez-Faire Management Style
The laissez-faire management style is very hands-off and encourages employees to take initiative on most of the decision making, problem-solving, and work. When implemented in the right work environment, employees will appreciate having the trust, space, and autonomy to work in ways that will maximize their output.
Typically, companies that have a flat structure or don’t want to follow a rigid hierarchy are the best candidates for this management style. It’s also important to make sure you have a team of extremely driven and competent employees who are comfortable with having minimal oversight from leadership.
Managers should also be prepared to go into conflict management mode whenever their employees lose focus or butt heads.
The benefit of this type of leadership is that it can lead to increased innovation, creativity, and productivity since there are no restrictions placed onto the way employees have to work or think. Similar to the Visionary Management Style, the amount of freedom granted to employees is also a great way to build a strong relationship based on trust.
The characteristics needed to master this management style include:
- An immense amount of trust in your team members
- The ability to be hands off but available when needed
- Conflict management skills
- Comfortable with decentralized structures
- A knack for checking in on progress without being overly involved
What the Laissez-Faire Management Style looks like in action:
The Head of Marketing is launching a new project with his highly motivated, competent, and independent team. He assigns large chunks of the project to employees based on their strengths, gives them a deadline, and lets them run with their individual tasks. He’ll check in occasionally with the team members to see if there’s anything they need from him but, otherwise, remains completely hands off until the deadline.
Ultimately, the type of management style you decide to go with is completely up to you. If you need some guidance on how to make this decision, here are a few key questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- Which of these management styles aligns most with my existing strengths?
- What are the gaps in my management style right now, and do any of these other alternatives fill those gaps?
- What are the needs of my organization at this moment?
- Have my employees shown a preference for one type of management style over another?
- What type of management style do the company leaders I admire use?
Keep in mind that you’re not committed to a single type of management style throughout your career. You can test out a few and see what feels right to you, or you can create your own management style by blending your favorite parts of each one.
Don’t be afraid to explore and get creative – the ultimate goal is to master the management style that feels natural to you and also brings out the best in your employees.