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Affiliative leadership

Affiliative leadership is a people focus leadership style which promotes harmony and the conflict resolution in the organization. It’s one of the emotional leadership styles which focus on enhancing the connection between the people in the organization. Affiliative leaders require a good EQ, and they try to improve the EQ of others. In today’s businesses, affiliative leadership has become popular. Happy and satisfied employees mean higher productivity. To make employees happy and motivated, affiliative leadership helps a lot.

In this article, we will learn about the affiliative leadership style and its pros and cons. In the previous articles, we discussed democratic leadership, autocratic leadership, and transformational leadership.

What is affiliative leadership?

As mentioned earlier, affiliative leadership focus on promoting harmony, synergy among the organization. It mainly focuses on strengthing the connection between people and getting benefits from that. Strengthing the relationship and promoting harmony can reduce the chances of conflicts. The goal of affiliative leaders is reaching the goals and objectives of the company by working together in harmony.

Most of the time, this leadership positively impact on the employees. But it depends on the goals of leaders. An affiliative leader who has the goal to do a harmful thing to society will be dangerous. But the affiliative leaders with proper goals can reach those by creating well-connected followers around them. Affiliative leaders promote peach and a people-first approach. This type of leaders requires a higher level of EQ. Also, they try to improve the EQ of their followers.

Why is affiliative leadership important?

The productivity of the company mainly depends on human resource. Because humans are the once, who do everything in a company. They can decide the success or failure of the organization. Affiliative leadership promote harmony and peace. It leads to create a happy and motivated workforce in the organization. Happy and motivated workforce always increase productivity. Apart from that, it can reduce conflict in the organization. So, the affiliative leadership style is essential in creating a motivated, happy, and productive workforce.

Characteristics of affiliative leadership

Promote harmony

To maintain a peaceful working environment, leaders promote harmony among the workers. It leads to reduce the conflict and increases the chance of identifying employee problems. Here the leaders prioritize the emotional needs of employees.

Give continuous feedback

Affiliative leaders believe in giving proper feedbacks and supporting the employees. So, they provide employees with encouraging feedback and support. They make sure that there will be no unfavourable behaviours of employees.

Strong moral

An affiliative leader makes sure the unethical behaviours are discouraged. For that, they maintain a higher morality in their actions and words. They show them as an example/ role model for the employees. Since harmony is there, they do not hesitate to express their true feelings to the organization. They are open and maintain an adequate level of morality.


Without flexibility, peace cannot be attained. So, affiliative leaders maintain a flexible working environment around them. It creates the space to build trust among the employee and reduce stress. Flexibility also expresses that the leaders are ready to changes.

Good communication

Without a sound communication system, affiliative leadership style gets failed. Because the success of this leadership style depends on how leaders communicate with others, how others communicate with leaders and how others communicate with co-workers. Here the leaders maintain good interpersonal skills and communication skills. It gives the chance to spread the ideas, harmony fast.

Maintain patience

Affiliative leaders focus on the happiness and satisfaction of employees. For that, they maintain an adequate level of patience. Even experts make mistakes. So, this type of leaders encourages and support the employee when they made mistakes. They do everything to keep employees satisfied in a good way. But they never forget their target to reach the company goals.

Encourage creativity and innovation.

Same as democratic leaders, affiliative leaders give followers a chance to creativity and innovations. They allow employees to use their creative thinking and come up with innovation. Since they promote harmony, employees can discuss their new ideas freely without being judged by someone.

Advantages of affiliative leadership

All leadership styles have pros and cons. Here are the pros of affiliative leadership style.

Create productive teams

Affiliative leaders mainly focus on harmony and building a strong connection among the employees. It leads to create productive and effective work teams that have a strong bond among each other. An effective team is a vital factor in the success of the organization. Additionally, this helps to reduce turnover and increase satisfaction.

Increase trust

Employees know that their bosses hold their backs. So, they trust their leaders, and they express their ideas without hesitating. This creates a favourable environment for ethical behaviours. Because employees trust their leaders, and also they stay away from unfavourable actions.

Increase motivation and satisfaction

Employees are continuously receiving feedbacks and supports. It makes them motivated and satisfied. Because they know their efforts are valued. Also, they have close co-workers around them. So, counterproductive activities like bullying, discrimination is discouraged. Also, leaders maintain good communication. It makes employees motivated. So, in the end, employees are left with higher satisfaction and motivation.

Less chance to conflict

When there is affiliative leadership, there is peace and harmony. It means there is no space for conflicts. Because the employees are well connected and with the leaders. So, they get a chance to solve their issues without turning them into a conflict.

Reduce stress

Since the affiliative leaders are flexible, employees get a chance to work without stress. There will be less burnout and high job satisfaction because of flexibility. Additionally, these leaders promote ethical behaviours and morality. It leads to discouraging unethical behaviours like bullying, discrimination, gossips etc. It directly leads to reduce the employee’s stress. They get a chance to work and share ideas without being judged.

Higher resilience

Here the leaders and co-workers are there for the employees who are facing an emotional crisis. With the help of leaders and co-workers, they can quickly bounce back. It means there will be higher resiliency. When there is affiliative leadership, the organization becomes one family. So each one gets a chance to get the help of others and bounce back quickly.

Disadvantages of affiliative leadership

Here are the cons of affiliative leadership.

Absence of real leadership

Affiliative leaders might get failed in giving proper direction to the employees. Some employees expect the right direction. But affiliative leaders only focus on strengthing connection and achieving goals through it. So, that kind of employees might get missed, and they will end up with unnecessary stress.

Avoid conflicts

In the modern view of management, it was said that conflicts should be managed. But affiliative leaders might try to avoid conflicts. Even some employees are underperforming, leaders might ignore them. Real leaders should face conflicts and find ways to manage them. But it is absent when there are affiliative leaders.

Increase negative reaction

Ignoring underperforming workers leads to create issue among employees who work well. Employees trust their leaders, and they are careful about the leader’s behaviours. When they found that the leaders are ignoring underperforming employees, they decide to put down their effort. Eventually, affiliative leaders end up with decreasing employee satisfaction and productivity even they have a goal to increase them.

Inability to face crisis

Affiliative leaders always expect a favourable environment in the organization. But in practice, no organization can maintain a favourable environment forever. All organization face crisis. But affiliative leaders have no experience in facing a crisis and managing it. It might lead to the collapse of the organization.

Decrease performance

Affiliative leaders only provide employees with positive feedbacks. Due to that, employees lose the chance to find the areas that should be improved. They will never get the chance to learn the areas that they should improve. This leads to a decrease in performance and productivity.

Forgetting the overall goal

Affiliative leaders need to focus more on keeping harmony and strengthening the connection of the employees. They must focus on them daily. Eventually, they will forget to reach the company’s goal. So, leaders must try to keep a balance between the employees and the organizational goals.

Too much emotional dependence

Employees try to depend too much on the leaders. They expect solutions for their interpersonal matters from the leaders rather than solving themselves. This leads to a decrease in the emotional intelligence of employees.


As mentioned earlier, affiliative leadership is about promoting harmony and reducing conflict through it. It’s an excellent leadership style to increase employee satisfaction and productivity. But using this style without a proper balance might bring unfavourable outcomes to the organizations. Same as other leadership styles like democratic, autocratic and transformation, leaders should turn the disadvantages of their leadership styles to advantages. Here the proper balance between employee handling and reaching an overall goal can turn the cons in pros.

Hope you got an idea about affiliative leadership and its pros and cons. Check out our other article that might help you in management.



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