Laissez-faire Leadership – Contradiction, Implementation, Features, Pros & Cons

Laissez Faire is a policy to take things on their course. It means there is no one to interfere in the matter. This leadership style signifies that there should be no intervention in the business. Therefore, an organization can operate without any legal hesitation.

Here, various businesses and institutions need to improve the efficiency with which their staff completes their tasks. Sometimes, unnecessary intervention might affect business operations, so this leadership approach is appropriate to avoid unnecessary intervention.

In this article, we will go through various aspect of Laissez-faire Leadership style, its feature, advantages, implementation along with real-life example.

Laissez-faire Leadership – Meaning

The meaning of Laissez-Faire leadership comes from the French, which means “let things be as they may. ” It signifies that the supreme authority should direct inferior authority to accomplish the task. Further, it is to be remembered that such inferiority should perform the job in the way the leader wants. As a result, an organization can operate more smoothly. Leaders who practice Laissez-faire economics put a high premium on their employees’ competence and independence.

Moreover, leaders that adopt a laissez-faire approach encourage their employees to rely on their ingenuity, resources, and expertise to achieve their goals. Managers gain genuine faith in their staff and their abilities when led this way. Here, team members put their knowledge and imagination to work to create outstanding results and help the company achieve its objectives.

Historical Background

Kurt Lewin, the “founder” of social psychology, distinguished between “laissez-faire,” “authoritarian,” and “democratic” styles of leadership in seminal work published in the 1930s. Numerous later theories on leadership may trace their roots back to Lewin’s framework. Figure out your preferred leadership style and get familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of each.

After 1930, people suddenly took this leadership approach. In earlier instances, it mainly includes zero or nominal Government interference so leaders can operate their businesses without any legal foundation. Leaders that take a hands-off approach give their followers complete independence. Leaders who practice “laissez-faire” seldom weigh in on significant issues and instead prefer to let others make their judgments. This strategy could work if the team is driven and competent.

Lax leadership, however, has severe implications; without the leader’s supervision, the group could disintegrate into infighting as people compete for prominence. Sometimes people talk for too long. If the leader doesn’t participate in creating the result, they have less say in what happens. Lewin observed that kids who were allowed a lot of independence by their instructors fared the lowest and argued the most.

Features of Laissez-faire leadership

There are various features of Laissez-Faire leadership, such as;

  • Leaders allow heavy freedom to their employees
  • Leaders hardly provide their opinions, whereas they only simplify their ideas and objectives to their subordinates
  • As leaders are not given any opinions then, such organizations require highly competent employees who can understand the requirement of leaders

Advantages of Laissez-faire leadership

The benefits of a hands-off management approach in business settings include the following:

  • This management philosophy encourages the development of workers’ imaginative capacities inside their organizations.
  • Everyone in the company has the chance to pick up new skills and expand their knowledge base thanks to the many people with whom they work.
  • As workers are given more leeway in how they go about their job, the company’s output rises.
  • A key feature of leadership, as mentioned earlier, in groups and corporations is that staff members are encouraged to share their thoughts and are given the authority to address any issues that arise.

Contradictions of Laissez-Faire Management

Many organizations and businesses choose a management style known as “laissez-faire,” in which both new and seasoned personnel are granted wide latitude. But in this scenario, there are apparent managerial flaws, and these include the –

  • Team members can’t understand every single situation and act accordingly, so there is a chance of getting confused about their actions
  • This leadership style is always eyeing competent employees, so to achieve high quality, the organization needs to pay heavy salaries, so the cost operation is relatively higher in this leadership style
  • Since no precedent is set in law, incompetent workers have no place in the labor market. Since there is no basis in law, there is a risk of breaking the law.


There is a real lack of success for authoritarian leaders these days. An obvious starting point for demonstrating a leader’s laissez-faire style is to solicit feedback from their staff; on the other hand, they themselves attempt to take charge of the workload. If you are in a situation where you are not listening to your team, you need to change that.

When there is no government regulation or operational impediment, it is often simple for a leader to realize their vision for their team. A corporation should use laissez-faire management if it is constrained by the following:

Strong leadership

A strong leader is required to define the organization’s objective and vision; Discussions between the Government and the commercial entity. A leader who can sit back and let their employees figure out how to organize best and carry out their job is said to be “laissez-faire.” Therefore, one of the keys to becoming a successful laissez-faire leader is to listen and learn from them. It’s possible to get a lot done under a laissez-faire leader if that person has shown trustworthiness and is fit to trust their staff.

Laissez-faire leaders delegate authority and decision-making to specialists in their field, who are then free to form their ideas regarding the organization’s internal systems and procedures. So, it is vital to have strong leadership in a business.

Understanding ethical and legal requirements

A Laissez-Faire leader must understand whether a business can be carried out with their employees. Further, a leader needs to realize that in the case of this leadership, there can be zero or nominal intervention of the Government. However, there is a chance of misappropriate steps taken by such employees in the case of minor or no Government intervention. As a result, such misappropriate actions might have negative consequences. So, a leader needs to understand ethical and legal requirements to implement this leadership approach.

Acquiring Skilled Workers

This leadership style mainly deals with such people who are very competent and can act according to the direction of the leader. Here, the leader only gives the order rather than the opinion of choosing any steps regarding the operations. So, hiring skillful workers is very important to implement a Laissez-faire leadership style.

Exemplification from Real Life

Steve Jobs is well-known not just as a co-founder but also as Apple’s chairman and CEO. Steve Jobs is often criticized for his carefree management style. The Apple CEO would regularly lay out his vision for the company and then leave it up to his staff to work out when and how to put those plans into action.

The first Apple computer had a simple and clean conclusion, and later on, when Apple company ready to develop its mobile then, Steve Jobs had clear instructions that such an organization should be worried about market pricing. Therefore, employees can constantly develop their products. Thereafter, Apple became one of the high-end mobile companies in the world.


A dream comes true when people work together to make it happen. A team is best led democratically. It would help if you also had the ability to work well with people and form strong bonds within your team.

Furthermore, limitations on the organization make it possible for it to fall short of its vision realized. However, such restrictions are often imposed on workers to prevent them from using their unique set of abilities in service of the company’s goals and objectives. One of the acceptable methods to run a team, laissez-faire leadership, avoids the limits where the leader provides an accessible environment for employees to use their knowledge, skill, and creativity.


Ahmed Athar, M.A., Iqbal, Z., Abid, G., Arshad, M., Ashfaq, F., and Hassan, Q. 2021. The impact of both authoritative and Laissez-Faire leadership styles on employee satisfaction and performance: moderating effects of conscientiousness. Reference: European Journal of Research in Health, Psychology, and Education, Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 667–685.

Both Breevaart and Zacher’s (2019) Weekly transformative and laissez-faire leadership styles and their main interaction impact follower trust and leader effectiveness. 92(2), pages 384–409 of the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

Authors: Skogstad, A., Einarsen, S., Torsheim, T., Aasland, M.S., & Hetland, H. The harmful nature of a hands-off approach to leadership. Page 80 of the 2012 issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Steve Jobs (no date) (no date) Forbes. Specifically, the magazine Forbes. You may read about Steve Jobs at To be accessed on January 3, 2023.

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