Tips to be an Effective Laissez-Faire Manager


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Tips to be an Effective Laissez-Faire Manager

A laissez-faire manager is a hands-off leader who trusts their team to make creative decisions and focuses instead on providing the tools and oversight that the team needs to finish the job. It is a popular management style as it allows employees to work in the way that works best for them. It can also be preferable for managers, as the laissez-faire management style certainly makes their jobs easier.

However, there is also the fear that too much laissez-faire can lead to a lack of productivity and missed deadlines. If you are too uninvolved, your team might feel directionless. It is possible to be an effective laissez-faire manager, but you have to know how to strike the right balance. Here are a few of our tips to succeed:

#1 – Have the Right Team

In order to sit back and let your team do the bulk of the work, you have to be able to trust the team you have. That comes down to choosing to work with the right people. Make sure you have a team with expertise in their roles, with track records of putting out high quality work. When you hire a team you can trust, it will be easier to leave them to it.

#2 – Know When To Use the Laissez-Faire Approach

Laissez-faire management can be a great approach for daily activities if you have a strong team. If your team has their jobs down to a fine art, you probably don’t need to loom over their shoulder to ensure everything is done correctly. However, there are some situations where a laissez-faire approach might not work. If you have a tight deadline, a high stress project, or you’re experiencing big changes, your team will likely need more direction and clarity than the laissez-faire approach provides.

#3 – Check on Performance

A laissez-faire manager may not breathe down the neck of their team, but it is still your job to oversee the performance of the team. Take time to check on performance occasionally and make sure everything is on track. Make sure things are going according to plan and take stock of both stronger and weaker points of the performance.

This can also give you a sense of whether the laissez-faire approach is the right management approach for your situation. If you notice that the team is consistently off the mark of what’s expected for the job, this tells you that they need more direction than you’re currently giving them.

#4 – Reward Positive Performance

If those performance checks only result in you pointing out weak spots in their performance, your team may end up feeling overly criticized. This could build up resentment amongst your team, as well as low morale and poor productivity. You can prevent this by rewarding good performance.

Point out what’s going well and incentivize your team members to keep up the good work. Everyone likes to work towards a reward, so if you incentivize good performance, you’re going to get good performance. And if they come into work knowing they have the creative freedom to work in the way that they do best and that their hard work is seen and appreciated, they’ll have that much more motivation.

#5 – Clarify Roles and Then Step Back

Laissez-faire does not have to mean that your team is directionless. In fact, in order for you to be an effective hands-off manager, it’s important that you clarify roles for everyone on the team. Delegate tasks and have an individual and group discussion about what each person is expected to do. You should also clarify what your team can expect you to do.

Once everyone knows what they have to do and what the rest of their team will be doing, you can step back. Leave a door open so that your team can ask questions when they need to. But when you’re clear upfront, you may have less to explain as the job goes on.

#6 – Give Helpful Feedback

Finally, give helpful feedback. Even a laissez-faire manager will still have to give evaluations and team meetings where they check in with everyone on progress and performance. Be specific in your feedback. Tell your team members exactly what they’re doing right and where they can improve.

And remember, you’re in the manager position presumably because you have some expertise in this area. If your team members need to improve in a particular area, you may be able to offer them the guidance and tips to help them do so going forward.

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