Affiliative leadership

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Affiliative leadership
See also

An affiliative leadership style primarily concentrates on individuals. It aims to increase motivation by creating a good atmosphere and bringing people together. Affiliative leaders appreciate the time spent with their people and pay attention to their emotions. They foreground human relationships above the results and try to keep people happy (D. Ahlstrom, G. D. Bruton 2010, p. 252).

Advantages of affiliative leadership

The affiliative leadership style positively impacts on communication between people. They discuss a lot among themselves because of the good atmosphere. And as a result of it, they are more willing to share their ideas and conceptions. The affiliative leadership style also influences flexibility. It is because people treat each other with trust that enables them to implement innovation and take a risk. Moreover, flexibility is on the rise because affiliative leaders do not say how people should get their work done. They allow them to complete the task in the way which they consider as the most effective. Additionally, being an affiliative leader means giving plenty of positive feedback for work well done. Such information has great importance in the job site. It is because many people's day-to-day effort is not valued and that is why they generally do not receive any positive feedback. Basically, in addition to an annual review, employees get negative feedback and that makes the positive words said by the affiliative leader even more motivating and encouraging (A. Kumar, N Meenakshi 2009, p. 115).

Usage of affiliative leadership

The affiliative leadership style fits a lot of situations, but its use is very helpful especially when a leader wants to:

  • build harmony
  • increase morale
  • improve communication
  • or repair broken trust.

What is important, this type of leadership should not be used alone because it can lead to failure. Focusing only on praises may cause poor performance of the company and as a result, employees may think that such situations are completely tolerated. They have to make up how to improve the ensuing situation on their own because according to the affiliative style leaders do not give any advice. When people need clear instructions to overcome difficulties, they just leave them rudderless. That is why the affiliative leadership style should be combined with the other leadership style, or else the company will not succeed. For instance, it can be mixed with the authoritative leadership style. An authoritative leader clearly states a vision, sets standards and lets people know how their work affects the company and an affiliative leader mainly care about employees (A. Kumar, N Meenakshi 2009, p. 115).


  • Ahlstrom D., Bruton G. D. (2010), International Management: Strategy and Culture in the Emerging World, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, p. 252
  • Bahago, Shawai F. J. (2012), The Implications of Leadership Style on Workers' Motivation, "International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Reviews", vol. 3, no. 2, p. 132
  • Burke R., Barron S. (2014), Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, p. 93
  • Harpelund C., Højberg M. T., Nielsen K. U. (2019), Onboarding: Getting New Hires off to a Flying Start, Emerald Publishing, Bingley, p. 228
  • Kumar A., Meenakshi N (2009), Organizational Behaviour: A Modern Approach, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, p. 115
  • Preston G., Moon J., Simon R., Allen S., Kossi E. (2015), The Relevance of Emotional Intelligence in Project Leadership, "Journal of Information Technology and Economic Development", vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 16-19
  • Rhode D. L. (2012), Developing Leadership, "Santa Clara Law Review", vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 708-709

Author: Klaudia Nycz