Permissive management style is often pegged as the opposite of authoritative, autocratic or dictatorial management style. That is not entirely accurate. While permissive management style is contrary to dictatorial leadership, it does have many variants. In fact, any leadership style that is not dictatorial can be categorized as a permissive management style.
Permissive Management Style: Defined!
When a manager or leader pays no heed to others and will only have her or his way of doing things, it is rather dictatorial. No one would get to have a say, no one’s opinion will matter and all the power would be vested in that one leader or the manager.
When a manager or leader allows others to enjoy a certain degree of freedom, doesn’t exercise absolute power, listens to others and may even allow some autonomy to the staff, then it is a permissive management style.
Types of Permissive Management Style
There are many types of permissive management style, all of which can be classified under the same umbrella term. Participative or democratic leadership is a form of permissive management style. Consultative management and laissez faire management styles are also derivatives. Paternalistic and persuasive management styles are however more dictatorial in nature than being permissive.
Pros & Cons of Permissive Management Style
It is great for the employees. They get to share their opinions, enjoy some freedom, don’t get bossed around and a practitioner of permissive management style will also care for the team and not make abrupt and discretionary decisions. Such a leader will be aware of his or her role and will take decisions bearing in mind the best interests and welfare of everyone concerned. Permissive management style works wonders in certain industries where there are really talented people at work, who don’t need to be told what has to be done and would rather excel with some leeway in the work they do.
Permissive management style can lead to chaos if unchecked. Certain jobs are not ideal for such kind of leadership because many may actually need a boss or a dictatorial figure to get them to complete their jobs. Not every workforce is driven and not everyone makes good of autonomy or even reasonable freedom in the workplace.
Every management style has its pros and cons. On a broader sense, permissive management style is effective but the manager will have to use veto from time to time.