3 Tips for Dealing with a “Hands Off” Leader
Far too often in my coaching practice I experience laissez-faire leaders. It’s unfortunate because such leaders can disrupt both employee and team level of engagement and productivity. Laissez-faire leaders often fail to take responsibility for leading. They tend to believe that it’s best to be “hands off” or “supportive only when necessary.” Some even believe this approach is good for the organization, because it gives their employees initiative and empowerment.
Leaders must lead and be engaged
It takes courage to lead. If you are a leader, do not confuse empowerment with failing to fulfill your leadership responsibility. Unconstrained empowerment is not leading. It is an excuse for avoiding the accountability that comes with leading others.
Let’s say we have a leader who is too “hands off” for your taste. Here are . . .
3 tips to help you manage the situation
1. Consider personality. Before judging your leader about the lack of leadership, account for his or her personality. Is your leader emotional or measured? A passive leader may feel overwhelmed or stressed about other issues outside of the office. Whatever the combination, tailor your approach accordingly.
2. Have a 1:1 conversation. If you have a good relationship with your boss, set up a meeting and discuss the need for more input, coaching or direction. Focus on what you want and not on his/her laissez-faire leadership. Be specific about your needs and avoid phrases like “you are not providing leadership” or “your failure to act is creating problems for me.” Be sure to keep the conversation focused and future-oriented, even if you give tough feedback on a current business issue. Open and frequent communication can inspire and energize everyone about the future.
3. Establish clear and collaborative expectations that align with the organization’s goals.
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to become confused when there are conflicting priorities and shifting goals. Set clear objectives and define a path forward together. Finally, meet regularly to discuss your progress on goal achievement.
If you are receiving laissez-faire leadership, remember these words of advice: “What you allow is what will continue.”