Democratic and Laissez Faire Leadership

In 1939, Kurt Lewin’s leadership framework identified three major leadership styles – Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez Faire. We will discuss two of these styles – Democratic and Laissez Faire Leadership – and their benefits in the below article.

Democratic Leadership

Democratic Leadership, also known as Participative Leadership, involves the input of all members of a group. The leader provides an opportunity for all employees to participate in setting the goals and objectives of an organisation. The employees also get to decide the methods and activities that the company will use to achieve those goals. The advantage of this form of leadership is that there are lesser conflicts between employees and the management. It is because the workers are allowed a say in most, if not all, important decisions concerning the organisation.

The leader has to coordinate between different departments to ensure that the organisation functions effectively. Unlike Authoritarian or Autocratic Leadership, a democratic leader is not a key figure in the company. Although they still have the final say in decision making, the whole process is much more collaborative than other forms of leadership.

Benefits of Democratic Leadership

The major benefits of Democratic Leadership are as follows:

  • Work Environment – The work environment is significantly more positive and collaborative in Democratic Leadership than other styles.
  • Inclusivity – The employees are a more substantial part of the decision-making process in this leadership style and can provide their inputs on various issues.
  • Improvement in decision making – Everyone who belongs within a group is involved in the decision-making process under the Democratic Leadership style. It helps the leader get a broader perspective on any issue, which leads to more holistic decisions.

Laissez Faire Leadership

Laissez Faire Leadership, also known as Delegative Leadership, involves the leader assigning several tasks to people within their team. The decision making for those specific tasks also gets delegated to the group members and the leader has no role to play in it. This leadership style is helpful in situations where the person/group handling a particular task is highly competent to complete it. Otherwise, it can lead to enormous problems for the organisation. One demerit of this leadership style is that it can lead to a lack of motivation among employees. It can also lead to conflicts where employees blame each other when things go wrong.

Benefits of Laissez Faire Leadership

The major benefits of Laissez Leadership are as follows:

  • Less workload for the management – The management or leadership of a company can delegate work to their subordinates and get the work done instead of doing it themselves. They can make better use of their time with the help of this method.
  • Learning opportunities – Since the employees have to handle the entire task independently with minimal help from the management, they can learn a lot about the task at hand.

Conclusion

Managers should adopt a mixture of Democratic and Laissez Faire Leadership styles to get the best out of their employees. Both have their benefits, and any organisation’s top management would do well to learn from both these methods.

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