What is Affiliative Leadership Style?

For wisely supervision of people, the company’s head must determine what type of behavior in relations with laborers he or she will adhere to during a workflow. Frequently, toppers want to become trustees or even some attorneys in secret affairs for their personnel. A lot of specialists do not encourage such closeness, pointing out its negative consequences, while others wholeheartedly support a manifestation of liberalism. So, it is worth to figure out with all the pros and cons.

Definition of Affiliative Leadership

The indicated style implies a behavior pattern, based on the transfer of assignments to workers, who assume a part of the responsibility for their implementation. The chief gives them almost complete freedom of action. He or she retains functions of a consultant and an arbitrator evaluating the results obtained.

This type of leadership was first developed by famous D. Goleman in the early 21st century. He said that an affiliative category is designed for managers who are well-versed in the situation and are able to recognize the maturity levels of own staff. It could talk about delegation only if we deal with highly qualified experts.

Rewards or sanctions recede into the background in comparison with inner satisfaction that wage-earners receive from realizing their potential and creative capabilities. Laborers are spared from constant monitoring and independently are trying to find ways to reach the desired objectives within the framework of the delegated powers. They do not suppose that the boss has already thought of everything and assured necessary conditions for this process.

The affiliative topper, primarily, is associated, with the term “harmony”. Such individuals use personal qualities for amicable and quick resolution of controversial situations. Their priority task is to form teams that could work together to accomplishing certain goals. But similar chiefs must recognize that conflict resolution is not only their function. They are obliged to focus on training workers in effective peaceful methods of discussion.

Motivation serves both compliance with adopted criteria and interest in a strong relationship between colleagues. This style stimulates support of a corporate spirit and inspires to the maximum return. However, the corresponding type may lead to complacency and, consequently, low productivity, if leaders are not vigilant. Thus, people who prefer it should balance between criticism and upbringing.

Akin bellwether acts mainly as an intermediary in relations with different divisions. He or she is inconsistent, easily influenced by others and inclined to give way to circumstances. With the dominance of this style, the head is not sufficiently demanding of workers, often avoiding drastic measures.

7 Traits of Affiliative Leaders

The mentioned category refers to emotional supervision because it affects directly the feelings of laborers. A resulting director, as a rule, has the following character features:

  1. Focus on conflict-free. Based on the psychological peculiarities of personnel, a boss seeks to eliminate hostility and create an atmosphere of calm.
  2. Constructive criticism. Chiefs do not stint on the praise regarding valuable individuals. But the main thing is not to overdo it and stay objective. After all, a lot of workers could feel so-called “star fever” and move from foremost to mediocrity.
  3. A skilled psychologist. The affiliative bellwether has an arsenal of knowledge and skills about manipulating human emotions. This awareness helps not only to assess the employees’ needs but also to find a suitable way for eliminating the problem.
  4. The flexibility of thinking. To create a trusting relationship between staff and superiors, it is necessary to be kind-hearted about new ideas and procedures that are offered by laborers. This will simultaneously relieve tension and contribute to the disclosure of creativity.
  5. Faith in an initiative. Accepting the fact that wage-earners are talented persons, the head initially delegates them the right to adjust the company's strategic aims. Workers cooperate with maximum efficiency, without fear of mistakes or punishments from the administration.
  6. Persistence. Affiliative leadership is treated in stressful or extreme conditions when a moral spirit of your team is significantly affected. Therefore, a manager should be ready for stormy emotional falls and take-offs during organizational resurgence.
  7. An empathic connection. Such toppers traditionally focus on the positive, avoiding a demanding tone in conversations with personnel. They do not emphasize own prestige but are more inclined to friendly talks and advice.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliative Leaders

Using of this approach provides a reliable back to each chief. Open feedback increases a degree of trust and causes a sense of security. A team consisting of different personalities works as a whole. Structural units are harmoniously combined, enlarging labor productivity. The principle of “people in the first place” contributes to the formation of a powerful corporate culture.

An affiliative style is ethically colored. It fosters freedom of the spirit, adaptability, and commitment to innovative ideas. Limited autonomy is better than absolute control. Staff should realize the significance of the duties performed, which is the task of respective leaders. Creativity is not the prerogative of high-level representatives.

The mentioned type saves in times of crisis or during large-scale transformations. If the company has experienced a series of layoffs or a major economic downturn, an affiliative businessman could play the role of a lighthouse leading the staff from a storm into a quiet harbor.

Despite all positive aspects, affiliative kind is not devoid of shortcomings. Essentially, such managers are not able to lead own firm to the championship. They are perceived as friends, who may be confessed or simply complain about life. But they could not offer a quick and tough solution to the issue.

Within some teams, the head is commanded by his/her workers, and he or she calls “a good person”. However, it continues until there is a controversial situation. In this case, disgruntled laborers come out of obedience. So liberal style turns into a conniving, which leads to quarrels, disorganization, and deterioration of discipline.

Such toppers like to praise, but not abuse their colleagues. Otherwise, workers will reassure themselves with mediocre labor achievements. In the end, the company quickly turns from the leading one into an outsider. Orientation to emotional component should not be a priority. It is also worth remembering the rationality needed to make informed decisions.

5 Affiliative Leadership Style Examples

The application of this style is becoming more widespread due to the growing scale of scientific and technical activities. Therefore, correctly conceived tactics of affiliative supervision help to prevent psychological problems and create a harmonious atmosphere within a firm. Personnel should feel at home, solving difficult working issues.

  1. Identify and resolve interpersonal confrontations. This technique is considered the most effective when you notice positive traits in people and accept workers as they are. Encourage others to coact in peace and harmony.
  2. Be sympathetic. Do not spare time for frank conversation. You have to comprehend a person and his/her feelings, learn to empathize. Be interest when something is not working out in the team. Try not to set the company’s aims above the well-being of its wage-earners.
  3. Trust your team. Believe that your crew will work well if it is treated politely. If you take care of own staff, they will answer you with devotion and high productivity.
  4. Establish personal connections. You should go with colleagues on excursions and picnics as much as possible or to have dinner together.
  5. Arrange corporate events. Think about carrying out collective “adventures”: parties, summer trips to nature, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, group sports (football, paintball), a cultural program (theater visits or movies), etc.

Thus, an affiliative leadership could be attributed to one of the most effective ways of creating a reliable team of like-minded people truly interested in the company's prosperity. It will help to cope with a low level of morale due to stress or other factors. But experts advise to combine it with authoritarian and democratic methods.