Be Lazy and Go Home: 5 Pros and Cons

June 2, 2021

Recently I wrote about a leadership style that I called Be Lazy and Go Home”. You can read more about it here.

This type of leadership requires a great deal of trust from both sides. You, the leader, need to feel confident enough that your team is a group of skilled individuals and that they have all the knowledge they need to complete their tasks and projects. As I mentioned in the disclaimer in the original post, this leadership style is not all shine and glory. There are some downsides, and you might want to switch it up if your situation won’t allow for this.

➕ Pros of leading this way

  1. You become better at providing background information at the start of a project, leveling up your strategic thinking skills.
  2. Encourages a lot of personal growth for everyone in your team. Delegating and being mostly hands-off allows your team members to be hands-on and tackle tasks that will enable them to level up.
  3. Encourages innovation and creativity in your team. More freedom for team members to explore new ways of doing things.
  4. Much faster decision-making. The team has the autonomy to make their own decision as quickly as those situations come up.
  5. The autonomy in the team can also be freeing for the right team members and help them feel more satisfied at work. This style is ideally used in teams with a high level of passion and intrinsic motivation for their work.

➖ Cons of leading this way

  1. This style of leadership depends a lot on how your team is set up. It works very well with a highly skilled team, but might run into a few issues when they lack the knowledge or experience they need to complete their tasks. And this could lead to poor performance and less job satisfaction for everyone involved.
  2. If your main concerns are efficiency and high performance, this style won’t be too good. Some people aren’t good at setting their own deadlines, managing their own projects, and solving problems on their own. Projects can go off-track, and deadlines can be missed when team members won’t get enough guidance or feedback.
  3. In some cases leading in a lazy way can lead to a lack of role clarity. Since team members might receive less guidance than usual, they might not be sure about what role they are supposed to do within the group.
  4. Insufficient involvement with the group. As a lazy leader, you could seem uninvolved and passive, leading to a lack of team cohesion. Team members could start not to care and just choose to work on unimportant work as the leader doesn’t seem to be interested.
  5. Some leaders take advantage of this style as a way to avoid responsibility for the group’s failures. Resulting in a feeling of low accountability. The potential could arise that the leader blames team members for not completing tasks or living up to expectations.

In general, this style of leadership won’t work for everyone and/or for every team. I would say that this is more of an advanced method, and it may pay to utilize a variety of leadership approaches at different phases of the work process, and never just one.

There are areas in which this will work better, for example, in a creative or product-driven environment where people are naturally creative, skilled, highly motivated, and dedicated to their work. A by-product of leading this way is getting very good at providing information and background and the beginning of a project. By giving team members all they need, they will then have the knowledge they need to complete their work as directed. Therefore leading this way will prove super effective during early phases when a product or idea is being brainstormed and created. Once those things are in place, it could be best to switch to a style where direction and collaboration feel more natural.