Page 5: Laissez-faire
Employees in a local branch have a sense of ownership for many of their activities. At the same time, they have the support and career structure of a large multinational company.
Derived from the French meaning 'leave alone', this is a loose leadership style. It allows employees to carry out activities freely within broad limits. It differs from the democratic style in that individuals are able to behave independently and make their own decisions, rather than coming together on an agreed course of action.
Small entrepreneurial teams manage and lead local Enterprise offices. These teams are decentralised and make many decisions on their own. This shows a type of laissez-faire structure.
However, this management style has drawbacks. Some employees might not be able to motivate themselves or make the right decisions alone. Therefore individuals within Enterprise teams work to corporate guidelines for dealing with customers. Staff also receive regular training and feedback.
Many Enterprise branches contribute to regional and corporate decisions. For example, Enterprise's Jack Taylor Founding Values Award demonstrates the laissez-faire approach. This is part of Enterprise's corporate responsibility programme.
Each region manages and participates in community projects. These may involve, for example, working in a nursing home or gardening for the elderly. If the region wins the award, it is free to use the money as it chooses.
In 2007 the winning region in South East England received a grant of £10,000 to use for community projects in its area. As part of Enterprise”s commitment to conservation, it has planted 40,000 trees in Scotland and is committed to planting 50 million over the next 50 years. All these activities enable employees to use their ideas in a creative way.