Empowering leadership and laissez-faire leadership are generally thought to represent quite different leadership styles—the former more active and directed in follower development and the latter more passive and dismissive of followers’ needs. 

However - as this HBR article shows - it all depends on the type of employee and nature of their work.  

 Building on leader categorisation theory, it's suggested that empowering leadership can be perceived differently by followers, depending on their empowerment expectations.