Definition: The Laissez-Faire or Free-Rein is the leadership style wherein the leader gives full freedom to his subordinates to act on their own. Here, the leader once defines the goals, policies, programmes and the limitations for action and then leaves the remaining process to be accomplished by the subordinates on their own.
In Laissez-Faire leadership style, the leader maintains contact with outside people and bring in information to the group members which they need for the accomplishment of the given task. Although, the subordinates are given the power and authority to make decisions the leader still takes responsibility for the actions of his group members.
This leadership style proves to be beneficial only when the group members are highly skilled, well-motivated and capable enough to accomplish the task assigned to them. The Laissez-Faire style is most suitable in the situations, where the group members are more knowledgeable than the leader and possess expertise in a particular field that can be used to find a solution to the complex problem. Thus, highly passionate team members prefer this style of leadership.
One of the major disadvantages of the Laissez-Faire leadership style is that the project may go off track in case the group members are not knowledgeable and lacks experience in making the effective decisions. Also, the project may suffer if no clear lines of authority and responsibility are defined among the group members. Lack of guidance and feedback from the leader may also affect the viability of the project which in turn may lead to inadequate integration among the teammates.