What Is Affiliative Leadership Style? Definition, Example Pros And, Cons

Mashum Mollah 14 November, 2022
Affiliative Leadership Style

Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds and harmony.

Daniel Goleman

A workplace or organization is built on the trust and bond created among the workers. People come together, interact and work with each other and make a sense of community. An affiliate leadership style aims to resolve team conflicts and create a friendly work culture where everyone is welcome.

A new employee does not need enough time to fit into an organization following this leadership. When you feel a sense of belonging and fitting in a community, you will feel at home working in such an organization. 

The affiliate leadership style usually aims at team building and creating a community. So, let’s find out more about this leadership style in detail. I have explained the Affiliated leadership style with examples. You can also gain insight into the pros and cons of adopting this leadership style in an organization. 


What Is Affiliate Leadership Style?

What Is Affiliate Leadership Style?

The affiliate leadership style aims at team building, resolving conflict in work culture, and creating a harmonious workplace. Employees build a personal connection with each other and feel a sense of belonging at work. 

The bond extends from employee-to-employee to being employee-to-managers. This type of leadership promotes social and emotional harmony and helps solve the problem through collective effort borne out of trust and a sense of belonging. 

Affiliate leadership style can be compared, to some extent, with the Democratic leadership style. The affiliate style of leadership approach embarks the employees on a people-first journey. On the other hand, the democratic leadership style facilitates employees’ participation and validates their opinions and actions. There is a sense of connection between the two, although they are quite not the same.

Background/History Of Affiliate Leadership Style

Background_History Of Affiliate Leadership Style

To find the root of affiliate leadership style, we have to look into 1995 Daniel Goleman’s work Emotional Intelligence. Goleman has illustrated six different types of leadership in his 2002 text “Primal Leadership,” where he wrote alongside Annie McKee and Richard Boyatzis. 

According to their idea, an affiliate leader is focused on resolving team conflicts by promoting positive bonds among the team. In addition, these leaders excel in good communication skills, team building, and conflict management. 

In their utmost effort to create a good work culture and harmonious environment, an affiliate leader can make a workplace organization productive. There are five other leadership styles mentioned in Goleman’s book. Here are the six different leadership styles he said –

  1. Visionary leadership style
  2. Coaching leadership style
  3. Pacesetting leadership style
  4. Affiliative leadership style
  5. Democratic leadership style
  6. Commanding leadership style

Characteristics Of Affiliate Leadership

Here are some of the key defining characteristics of the affiliate approach to leadership –

1. Harmonious Work Culture 

Sallust Quotes

A work culture following an affiliate leadership style always focuses on solving conflict among team members. Employees under this leadership style are acknowledged as emotional beings. Their emotional needs are prioritized, helping the organization build itself upon trust and harmony. 

2. Building Connection

Friedrich Nietzsche Quote

Building a connection among the employees is a positive way to strengthen the organization’s overall capacity. Employees can build emotional connections with each other and can work collaboratively without any differences. Since their well-being is taken care of, the employees come forward to ensure the well-being of the organization through collective effort.

3. Appreciation 

Dalai Lama Quotes

Appreciation of the employees also characterizes affiliate leadership style. The sense of belonging makes the employees work to their maximum potential. But the sense of connection also helps them get appreciated and feel acknowledged. Therefore, affiliate leaders focus on offering rewards and appreciation to their employees. 

4. Flexibility Of Work

Dr. Jacent Mpalyenkana

Affiliate leadership style also facilitates a vast range of flexibility at work. They get remote work options and are allowed flexible schedules. This comfort helps them build a sense of comfort and trust. 

5. Creativity At Workplace 

Virginia Woolf Quote

Employees working under an affiliate leader can outdo themselves through their creative power. This type of work culture promotes creative thinking and imagination. They can discover a different approach to solving problems and achieve their goals on time.

Although these are the most prominent characteristics of this type of leadership, there are many other additional features. For example, this leadership style also promotes resilience and positivity among employees.

You May Like To Know About Autocratic Leadership Style

Affiliate Leadership Style: What’s Good…And What’s Not So Good

There are both good and bad sides to adopting any leadership style. Here are some of the pros and cons of the affiliate leadership style –

The Benefits Of Affiliate Leadership Style: Pros

 Patrick Lencioni
  • Teams under this leadership style can perform to their maximum potential. The teams are effective and high performing. 
  • Employee morale is also improved, and has a high standard of trust, loyalty, and bonding. 
  • Affiliate leadership style also helps build trust among employees and between employees and the organization. 
  • Conflict resolution is the aim of this leadership. Hence, the leaders can easily resolve any issue occurring within teams. 
  • When employees feel welcome at the workplace, they don’t have a high level of work-related stress. 
  • Employees and team can use their morale compass to guide and motivate each other and pull the organization out of a crisis. 

The Disadvantages Of Affiliate Leadership Style: Cons

Amit Kalantri
  • A sense of personal connection stops employees see each other’s flaws. So there is a possibility of underperformance and lack of improvement. 
  • Lack of criticism, many flaws of the organization, may go unnoticed. 
  • Focusing on building a team might put the organization to lose the overall goal. 
  • Employees may develop unreal dependence on the affiliate leaders.

Affiliate Leadership Style: Case Studies 

This is one of the best emotional leadership styles. Here is an example you would be surprised to read about –

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

An affiliate leadership not only helps the employees feel connected, but it also helps them push their emotional and physical capacity. Dalai Lama makes it completely about love and sharing the emotional connection. He leads an immense number of followers who love and appreciate him for his affiliate leadership. His way of sharing love and connection helps the follower build a sense of connection and community. It helps them create a sense of belonging together.

How To Become An Affiliate Leader?

If you are planning to choose this leadership style, then you should be aware of the pros and cons of the same. You can read the above. However, here are some tips that can help you become an effective affiliate leader. 

1. Build A Harmonious Environment

Build A Harmonious Environment

Becoming an affiliate leader does not come easily. You need to focus on creating a healthy environment where all the employees feel connected and are in harmony. Being open to people working in the organization and accepting them for who they are should help. 

2. Learn To Resolve Team Conflict

Learn To Resolve Team Conflict

A great skill of affiliate leaders is to be able to solve team conflicts. Helping the employees understand the value of work community and togetherness can make it easier. As an affiliate leader, you should also teach the employees to resolve any emotional conflict that supposedly appears in the organization. 

3. Increase Work Flexibility

Increase Work Flexibility

Since the employees in such an environment have a sense of belonging, they are aware of their responsibilities. As a leader, you can provide them with more flexibility, such as – flexible shifts and remote work, and run an effective leave policy without rigid rules and restrictions. 

4. Praise And Criticize

Praise And Criticize

Indeed your employees deserve the reward. But they also need criticism to make room for improvement. You must remember to mix up both criticism and praise during an employee feedback session. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

So, those were all that you needed to know about this leadership style. Here are some popular questions and their answers if you need more information. 

Q1. Where Is Affiliative Leadership Used?

A business can use an affiliate leadership style during a time of crisis, like a merger, cutback, or other transitional periods. Affiliate leaders can regroup and connect the employees under such a leadership style.

Q2. Who Is An Affiliate Leader?

Dalai Lama is a great example of an affiliate leader. He has adopted this leadership style quite remarkably. He makes it about gaining and offering love to the community that follows him. 

Q3. Is Affiliate Leadership An Emotional Leadership Style?

Yes, affiliative leadership is purely based on the emotional connection between the employees and the organization. It builds a company culture based on emotions and a sense of belonging and sticking together.

Is Affiliate Leadership Effective?

Of course, affiliate leadership is effective. During a crisis or any transition phase of an organization, leadership styles like charismatic leadership style and affiliate leadership can make a difference. However, despite its drawbacks, a leader can partially use this leadership style to improve the productivity of the organization.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let us know your thoughts on Goleman’s leadership style in the comment.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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