Laissez Faire Leadership Examples

Laissez Faire Leadership Examples

If you are looking for some laissez faire leadership examples to gain inspiration or knowledge, you are in the right place. There are many leaders out there who have achieved tremendous things through this style of leadership. Some of the greats include businessmen like Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs. You can see how much success they have achieved with their leadership approaches.

Alright, what are the examples of laissez faire leadership? Let’s take a quick look at them before going into more detail. 

One good example of the laissez fair leadership was the Panama Canal project in 1904. The president of the United States at that time was Theodore Roosevelt. The Panama Canal, until today, is one of the engineering marvels of the world. But this project wouldn’t have been completed without the laissez fair leadership style exhibited by Theodore Roosevelt. Another example is the cutting edge interstate highway system, a project led by Dwight D Eisenhower, the president of the United States at that time. Because of the hands-off approach, which the laissez fair leadership is all about, President Dwight was able to complete the project.

So, these are some of the laissez fair leadership examples. The list goes on and on, as you can see. Continue reading for more details about the laissez faire style of leadership, pros, and cons, including when to deploy it.

Laissez Fair Leadership Style: What Does It Imply?

There exist diverse leadership styles, giving entrepreneurs and head of corporations or political office holders the opportunity to adopt what works best for them. The thing is you may never know which leadership style is the best for you until you put them to the test.

Various factors also determine if you can get a satisfactory result with the laissez fair leadership style or not.

So, with that said, what is laissez fair leadership style? Laissez faire leadership is the type of leadership style where the leader is expected to be delegative. Let’s say you are the leader of XYZ Company and want ABC project completed to a certain standard.

The primary concern, as a laissez faire leader, will be to create the vision and make everything needed for the job to be completed available, then you hands-off the project. In this case, you will have to leave the project in the hands of a team, trusting that they will deliver the expected result.

So, that is laissez faire style of leadership. It’s the leadership style the Apple founder, Steve Jobs, deployed during his time at the helm of affairs in Apple. Steve Jobs adopted the laissez faire leadership style and used it whenever the need arises.

However, like other leadership styles, laissez faire has pros and cons. Some researchers also believe that this leadership style yields the lowest productivity when deployed in a group setting. Continue reading to find out more about the pros and cons of laissez fair leadership styles!

Conditions Under Which You Can Adopt Laissez Fair Leadership Style.

This leadership style involves placing a considerable amount of trust in a team and the individuals handling the various aspects of the project. Remember, you are only going to provide the resources and not monitor or supervise the team members.

So, before you adopt the laissez faire leadership pattern, make sure you have the following in place. Otherwise, you may be better off with other leadership styles.

Skill levels of team members –

A laissez faire leadership style can only work or become more effective when each member of the team possesses the needed skills to get the job done. The team members need to be capable of working with little or no supervision. The individuals should also have the motivation to work whether the leader is there to instruct them or not.

The expertise of team members –

When the team members are experts who have in-depth knowledge of the project and are more knowledgeable than the leader, then the laissez faire leadership style would work fine. There is a high assurance that the team members can deploy their in-depth knowledge to deliver the expected results. As the leader, when all team members are experts, you won’t have doubts when delegating tasks to your team members.

Value placed on independence –

When you have a team that doesn’t like to be micromanaged, laissez faire style of leadership will make a wise choice. The team members should also have the motivation and interest to work independently and achieve the desired results.

So, in this delegative leadership style called laissez faire, the team members must possess certain qualities for things to work out. Having experts around can also make it possible to achieve the desired results or complete the project in record time.

If the qualities above are not present in your team members, then you might be better off deploying a different style of leadership approach, not the delegative approach.

What Are The Pros Of Laissez Faire Leadership Approach

There are reasons this leadership approach is considered to be a wise choice. These pros are what the likes of Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and other leaders saw that made them adopt this leadership approach.

So, what are the laissez faire leadership pros?

  • Firstly, as the leader, delegating duties, and trusting your team members or subordinates to deliver gives you peace of mind. You will also have the freedom you need to focus on other tasks with all your might to achieve the best possible results.
  • This leadership style can encourage job satisfaction, which is a significant boost to the company’s productivity. Most people like to work with little or no supervision. They may even achieve more or be more productive under such a condition.
  • Little or no distraction means an individual can focus more on the project and avoid errors. In laissez faire leadership, the leader may not interface with the work of the team members but can make his or herself available when the need arises.
  • This leadership style can boost confidence. The team members will feel honored to be trusted and given such a huge responsibility.

What are the pros of the laissez fair leadership style?

  • A laissez faire leadership style can only be effective when members of the team have in-depth knowledge, expertise, and motivation to work independently. Otherwise, this approach would not yield any tangible results. The implication is that the firm or leader, in question, needs to deploy a strict recruitment policy to hire only the best.
  • The little or no involvement of the leader can force other members to react the same way. It is the project that will suffer when this happens. This attitude may also force the team members not to give their best or find it hard to deliver the expected results.
  • The laissez faire leader is only concerned about the result, not the team members or how motivated they are. They mostly do not make any attempt to keep the workers, or team members motivated throughout the project or recognize how much work and effort the team members have invested in the project.
  • The low accountability associated with this style of leadership can make most leaders lazy and exempt themselves from projects. At the end of the day, when team members make mistakes or don’t achieve the desired result, the leader heaps the blame on them.

Some Good Laissez Fair Leadership Examples

Notable personalities have used this leadership approach and flourished in it. We have mentioned some of the most recent ones, particularly businessmen such as Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs. Now let’s take a look at other prominent figures who adopted the laissez faire approach many years ago.

Queen Victoria

You must have read about Queen Victoria and how she ascended the throne at the age of 18. Because of her young age, many believed the queen relied on advice from experts and people that surrounded her. However, as she grew older, there were claims that she started to become more involved.

The Victorian era is from 1831 to the year 1901 and is also characterized by the laissez faire leadership approach. During this period, the queen gave experts the chance to make their own decisions and be in charge, while she provided the resources needed for the tasks to be complete. From the military, business to commerce, her laissez faire leadership style was evident.

The Victorian era was the beginning of individualism. The phrase “heaven only helps those who help themselves” was also very popular and commonly used during the Victorian era to motivate people.

Paul Allen

Unfortunately, Paul Allen, one of Microsoft’s co-founders, isn’t with the company anymore. But he will be fondly remembered by those who worked with him for his hands-off approach and manner of leading people.

Paul Allen loves to challenge people, be challenged, and let the finest hands do the job.


So, you have seen the various laissez faire leadership examples and how various leaders were able to achieve great things via this hands-off approach to leadership. But then, you shouldn’t get carried away by the results of other persons. You should also ensure you have the right team and team members with the right motivation, mindset, and understanding for this leadership approach to work.

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