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Have you ever had a boss who made you feel valued and appreciated? Chances are, an affiliative leader was leading you. Affiliative leadership is a style of management that emphasizes relationships and team-building over task completion.
If you’re looking for ways to build a better team or want to learn how to be a more effective leader, read on! This post will discuss the basics of affiliative leadership, including its history and fundamental principles.
What is the Affiliative leadership style?
The affiliative leadership style is the final sub-style of the Ideal Leadership Model. This sub-style emphasizes working with people to create a harmonious working environment, leading to good employee morale and performance.
This leadership style puts people first – it’s about building relationships through effective communication and empathy. The affiliative leadership style puts people first and establishes a rhythmic environment to inspire performance and good team morale.
Related: Servant Leadership
Who coined the Affiliative leadership style?
Daniel Goleman, along with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee in their book ‘Primal Leadership’ (2002), defined six leadership styles, including Coercive leadership style, Affiliative leadership, Democratic leadership style, Coaching leadership style, and some other leadership styles.
Related: 16 Leadership Styles
10 Characteristics of Affiliative leadership Style
The affiliative leadership style is more of a democratic or consensual style. It involves the leader is sensitive to the employees’ needs and emotions while making sure everyone is heard. This type of leader is adept at cooperating with people different from them while still fulfilling their expectations for results.
1) Harmony- Seek to build a cooperative relationship with their team
Employees who exhibit an affiliative leadership style focus on building good relationships. They seek to develop a mutually supportive and trusting relationship with their subordinates to consider their feelings, ideas, and needs.
This leader might be called a ” “benevolent dictator because they give their subordinates considerable leeway in performing work tasks but keep them under control by establishing personal rapport with them.
2) Helpfulness- Demonstrates willingness to help others succeed
Affiliative leaders are motivated to create harmony and help everyone feel comfortable. Their primary concern is how others feel. This makes them unafraid of assisting people in solving problems and dealing with workplace issues.
3) Positive Attitudes- Express optimism and confidence in the group’s abilities
Employees working for affiliative managers trust their leader to be positive, supportive, and encouraging. This allows them to feel that they can achieve more as a team than alone. As a result, employees feel comfortable doing things that may be new or challenging.
They gain confidence by seeing their leader display these same qualities; this helps to motivate them and instill hope regarding the future of the organization as a whole as well as their futures within it.
4) Friendliness- Uses humor, compliments others on work well done
The nature of affiliation is that those who employ it tend to have a light, humorous touch with their team. As a result, they are more likely to use humor with others as a tool for defusing tense situations or to make others feel comfortable.
An affiliative leader is also likely to complement the work of others frequently, expressing gratitude for people’s efforts and pointing out how those efforts have contributed to both the success of the organization and their accolades.
5) Is an effective communicator- Listens empathetically
A large part of affiliation is communication-based on good listening skills. Those who employ this leadership style are skilled at negotiating differences in opinion by remaining open-minded and objective, valuing different modes of thinking rather than insisting they are right all the time or ‘know better.’ They can communicate effectively without being heavy-handed or pushy.
6) Is a good teacher- Shows employees how to do their jobs, as well as what is expected of them
The affiliative leader looks for opportunities to teach those on their team. For example, when something goes wrong, they show employees exactly where the fault lies and demonstrates what should have been done instead; this differs from an authoritarian leader who would tend to point out after the fact that it was the employee’s lack of skill and ability which led to whatever happened.
The affiliative leader also takes time to explain workplace policies and shows subordinates exactly how they are supposed to carry out specific tasks; consequently, they become better equipped to perform their jobs competently and joyfully.
7) Is a good role model- Deals with problems as an example to others
The affiliative leader leads by example, dealing with workplace issues the same way their employees would want to be dealt with under those circumstances. They do not try to solve every problem directly but instead empower the team as a whole, allowing them to work out whatever issues come up amongst themselves without interference from management.
This leadership style encourages creativity and allows employees the opportunity to feel that they have a significant part to play within an organization that genuinely cares about them as people rather than just viewing them as expendable cogs in a machine.
8) Avoids creating conflict- Attempts to reconcile differences from the start
The affiliative leader avoids conflict resolution as a general practice. Rather than immediately pointing out where someone went wrong, they look for opportunities to reconcile any differences between members of their team or among other teams within the organization.
It is not unusual for an affiliative manager to call a meeting with those involved in a conflict and encourage them to speak through what happened rather than blame them for it; this helps to avoid creating an atmosphere of antagonism and thus provides a positive environment in which everyone can work together towards the betterment of the entire organization.
9) Is flexible- Agrees that sometimes mistakes need to be fixed later
In conjunction with being diplomatic, flexible, and open-minded, the affiliative leader is also willing to let bygones be bygones if they realize that whatever issue that has come up can be resolved amicably.
There are times when mistakes need to be forgiven for the team to move forward productively, which is precisely what this form of leadership allows for.
10) Encourages self-development in others- Offers support in professional development
Finally, not only does an affiliative manager offer their assistance in personal matters when asked, but they provide positive feedback when someone on the team takes it upon themselves to pursue professional development.
Whether it is through attending seminars or taking classes together at night, the employee’s initiative is valorized by an affiliation leader who helps in any way they can so that the employee’s development and success go hand in hand.
Related: Leadership Roles
How do I get into using the affiliative leadership style?
You can build upon your natural strengths to develop this style further. For example, you may already be a good listener and observer of other people, which is an important skill here. You can broaden your skills in this area by listening to other people and actively giving them your undivided attention when they speak. This will help you understand what motivates them and how best to work together.
You may also want to focus on building trust within your relationships with team members. You may have some ideas about doing this already, but some simple tips include remembering people’s names and celebrating their achievements.
10 Benefits of Affiliative leadership
Affiliative leadership is the most appropriate style to use when directing a group of different people. There are many benefits of affiliative leadership, such as:
- The leader will keep subordinates happy and committed through communication and connection. As a result, the leader will be able to develop open communication lines that are easy for others to contribute ideas, leading to higher productivity levels.
- A more effective team with better decision-making skills will form with this leadership style because they can work together toward common goals instead of having solo performers or autocratic leaders who do not listen enough.
- Employees under an affiliative leader are more likely to want to continue working in their company or field.
- An affiliative leader will encourage subordinates to work collaboratively and inspire them to think outside of the box, which can potentially result in increased creativity and lower levels of frustration with others on the team.
- Healthy communication between employees is encouraged when they have a leader who functions as an open book, with nothing to hide from their workers. This allows for better relationships and stronger trust between every team member who knows each other’s strengths, weaknesses, styles, and more.
- Communication issues are less likely when using affiliative leadership because leaders make an effort to keep lines like these open at all times between themselves and underlings.
- Employees need to have an equal relationship with their leader so that they are not being bullied or dealing with micro-management.
- Affiliative leadership is more likely to result in a better work environment because the leader encourages teamwork and does not allow for conflict between employees.
- Employees are likely to have increased satisfaction when working under affiliative leadership, which could contribute to them staying at their jobs longer.
- The overall company morale will be higher if subordinates feel empowered rather than oppressed by their leader. This can lead to greater success for everyone involved because workers invest themselves emotionally in the effort to help the business grow further.
10 Examples of Affiliative leadership
- The first example of an affiliative leader in the workplace is a manager known for helping their employees. This can be done through coaching, editing proposals, and working closely with motivated by personal growth.
- One standard definition of leadership is influencing people to work towards a goal without coercion or authority. An example of an affiliative leader would be someone who encourages collaboration instead of competition among team members and manages their time well so that everyone’s opinions and ideas receive equal consideration.
- Affiliative leaders acknowledge problems instead of ignoring them and inspire others to work together despite differences because they value all their colleagues’ contributions to the company. As a result, they advance their interests and the interests of others.
- An affiliative leader encourages individuals to work independently and in small teams. Because they are approachable, they help solve issues before they even become an issue. By establishing trust, providing timely feedback, and ensuring that all employees know what is expected, affiliated leaders motivate people to meet deadlines and do quality work within company guidelines.
- Managers can use affiliative leadership to improve open communication between themselves and their co-workers. This type of leader believes that everyone has potential that should be tapped into, allowing creativity and innovation to flourish at their workplace. They take time out every day or during specific intervals throughout the week to listen to the issues and concerns of their employees. If they don’t know an answer or can’t assist, they will do what is necessary to find out the needed information.
- An affiliative leader never acts as though they know everything. Instead, they openly communicate with subordinates, realizing different ways to solve problems. They also work their hardest to establish a positive relationship with everyone at the place of business. Even when someone isn’t working hard enough, this type of manager still encourages them to motivate them in the long run.
- One way managers can encourage teamwork among colleagues is by developing group activities for workers to participate in. It will help boost morale because everyone gets to know each other better outside of the office. If someone is shy, an affiliative leader allows them to open up and feel more comfortable around others.
- People are motivated when included in decision-making processes, so affiliative leaders encourage feedback from their employees when something is being changed or developed within the company. They also offer incentives for excellent work such as bonuses or salary raises.
- By treating teammates equally, an affiliative leader doesn’t alienate anyone in the group. They treat everyone with respect, kindness, and dignity regardless of their position at work. Everyone should be appreciated for their contributions to achieving their goals.
- An affiliative manager works well with everyone around them, regardless of personality differences. Instead of focusing on the negative things that people say about each other, they focus on their strengths and develop teamwork among co-workers. This builds morale within the team; if someone feels good about themselves, it will reflect their work performance.
Related: 5 Levels of Leadership
An affiliative leader will keep their subordinates happy by establishing a friendly and collaborative work environment where everyone feels included and understood. In addition, an affiliative leader will build strong connections between co-workers through open lines of communication, which can help companies in many ways, such as increased productivity and improved relationships.
Affiliative leadership styles are pretty simple to explain, but applying them in everyday life is not always as easy. For example, dealing with people and managing employee relations requires a particular set of skills that provides an agreeable work atmosphere for all parties involved; however, this may be difficult to achieve without the proper guidance from a leader who truly cares about their team.
The more you can communicate with your subordinates and co-workers, the better you will deal with any problems throughout your working day.
Related: Theory of Leadership