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.
Research has regularly demonstrated that when employees feel empowered at work, it is associated with stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization. Many leaders today often try to empower their employees by delegating authority and decision-making, sharing information, and asking for their input. But our recent research found that this style of leadership works best in motivating certain types of performance and certain types of employees. “Empowering” leaders should know when they can be most effective. We conducted a meta-analysis of all available field experiments on leaders empowering subordinates – examining the results of 105 studies, which included data from more than 30,000 employees from 30 countries.