Managing Upwards- How To Get Along With Laissez Faire Managers

Laissez-faire managers follow a low-engagement philosophy under which experienced and creative employees tend to thrive. But if you aren’t creative or experienced, how can you survive in this kind of work environment? You learn to manage yourself.

Here are some tips on how to manage yourself and get along with laissez-faire managers:

Managing Upwards

In autocratic work environments employees receive directives from their supervisors and aim to complete their work in accordance with those directives. When there are no directives, it can be difficult to know what is expected.

Instead of relying on your manager to provide you with clear direction, you must manage upwards. It is your job to inform them. At times this might feel as if you are both manager and employee. But, view this as an opportunity for professional growth.

  • Do your homework.
  • Come up with a detailed course of action.
  • Prepare milestones for your project.
  • As you work on your project, stay in contact with your supervisor.
  • Present your plan.
  • Be specific about the kind of feedback you’d like to receive.
  • Ask open-ended questions. This will help you acquire a wide range of information.
  • After your presentation, don’t expect to get a pat on the back or a dressing down. Instead, be prepared to forge ahead with greater knowledge but the same amount of (very little) direction.
  • Cultivate a Collaborative Mindset

    With very little hierarchy it can be difficult to navigate office protocol. Instead, treat every co-worker with respect. Each colleague is a potential font of information. Build relationships where knowledge is shared.

    The laissez-faire work culture is fluid. Titles and seniority aren’t the currencies at work, knowledge is. Be prepared to collaborate and learn from everyone around you. And, be prepared to bring your own knowledge to the table.

    Practice Autodidactic Behavior

    An autodidact is someone who is self-taught. These independent minded people seek out information and learn skills on their own. The benefit of autodidactic learning is its efficiency. You don’t have to spend time on tutorials that are irrelevant. Instead, you can get to the heart of the issue and study up on your own terms.

    This kind of practice means seeking out YouTube videos, curating relevant professional RSS feeds, and sharing information with your co-workers and, yes, your somewhat disengaged boss.

    Unfortunately, not every laissez-faire styled manager is actually following the laissez-faire leadership philosophy. Some managers are considered laissez-faire because they are disengaged from their subordinates and/or they are passive-aggressive.

    If this is the case, collaborating with colleagues, setting your own goals and learning new skills will allow you to develop strong professional relationships.

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