"Laissez Faire" versus Micromanagement

Getting the Balance Right

Use an appropriate style.

© iStockphoto/Acerebel

Imagine this scenario: Your boss has just handed you a big project. You're excited to get started, but she's left you with no direction as to how she expects you to go about it. She's specified the deadline and the deliverable, and has left you to find your own way.

Your last boss was the complete opposite. He'd hand you a piece of work and then spend the next few weeks hovering over your shoulder, questioning your decisions and offering "helpful advice" at every turn.

These two scenarios illustrate opposite ends of a management style spectrum.

The first boss has a "laissez faire" management style, and the second is the classic micromanager – more politely known as a "very-hands-on" manager.

Both styles can be effective in the right circumstances, but not, usually, when they're taken to extremes. As usual, the best approach lies somewhere between the extremes.

In this article we'll look at each management style, and see how to find the best style for each person and situation.

Laissez Faire Management

The term "laissez faire" is French for "leave it be". This is a very fitting description for this style of management!

Laissez faire managers are...

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