What Is a Laissez-Faire Leadership Style?

Laissez-faire leadership is a management style that allows for independence within a group. A laissez-faire leader is someone who takes a relaxed approach to oversight and does not try to control or micromanage her subordinates.

The term laissez-faire is derived from the French language, in which "laisser faire" means "to let do," referring to allowing people to do what they please. Laissez-faire leaders will let their subordinates have a lot of control over what they do. One drawback to this style is that, according to Widener University, studies have shown laissez-faire leadership leads to the lowest levels of productivity. This is not a leadership style that is well suited to individuals who need a lot of oversight, but it is a good system for experienced professionals and others who do not need a lot of supervision or instruction.