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what is laissez faire leadership

The short version of laissez-faire leadership: Do what you want as long as you get the job done right.

From a laissez-faire leader’s perspective, the key to success is to build a strong team — and then stay out of the way.

Loosely translated from its French origins, laissez-faire means “let it be” or “leave it alone.” In practice, it means leaders leave it up to their subordinates to complete responsibilities in a manner they choose, without requiring strict policies or procedures.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines laissez-faire leadership as:

“A philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference, especially with individual freedom of choice and action.”

This self-rule style empowers individuals, groups or teams to make decisions. Critics of this hands-off leadership style contend it is risky to universally delegate decision-making responsibility to staff members. Groups and teams do not have the power to make far-reaching strategic decisions, but laissez-faire leaders allow individuals or teams to decide how they will complete their work.