Being a Laissez Faire leader means being a hands-off type of leader. It allows people to use their own talents and skills to succeed and only intervene when absolutely necessary. There may be no other type of leadership that provides such a minimum level of overall supervision. Laissez Faire is often used when a team is fully mature and knowledgeable in their field with proven competence. Here are some of the most famous leaders from history who used this particular style.
1. Herbert Hoover
Hoover was actually born into a Quaker family. He worked to provide humanitarian relief around the world before becoming part of the Presidential cabinet. Hoover served as the Secretary of Commerce under two Presidents before becoming President himself. He was hands-off in his approach partly because he relied on the experience of his team, but also because he had no elected office experience and relied on his experience as an engineer.
2. Martin Van Buren
Van Buren was not the most imposing man in all of history, but he did achieve a great many things. He was one of the key organizers of the Democratic Party and he was also the first President who was not from a British or Irish descent. He was also the first President who was born a US citizen. He managed others by allowing everyone else to use their talents to bring about an organizational structure for democracy.
3. Warren Buffet
Buffet very much stays hands-off with his management style because he has surrounded himself with people that he knows can perform their job adequately and creatively without his help. He intervenes only when necessary to correct a bad situation and sometimes even allows mistakes to happen so that everyone can learn from them. The successes he has had are well-documented. Not only has he made billions of dollars, but he has vowed to donate almost all of his wealth to philanthropic efforts and has encouraged the wealthy class to do the same.
4. Steve Jobs
Although we remember Jobs for his innovation and creativity, he was also a famous example of taking a hands-off approach to leadership. He would create his own vision of how things should be, inform others of this vision, and then let them get to work. A great example of this is when he talked to Corning to create the Gorilla Glass for the first version of the iPhone. Corning said it couldn’t be done. Jobs said that it could be done in 6 months. Guess what? Corning got it done in less than 6 months without any micromanagement from Jobs.
5. Queen Victoria
For the Victorian period in Great Britain, this hands-off leadership style was at the forefront of society. Phrases like “Heaven helps those who help themselves” were often used to promote this sort of philosophy. For many reasons, this period is also called the Age of Individualism because many worked hard using their own talents and skills to create one of the richest countries of the world at the time. Queen Victoria stayed out of business unless necessary and the reverse was done with government. The result was the creation of one of the strongest nations the world has ever seen.