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Leadership transforms management. Transformational leadership, specifically, tends to work wonders when applied to any management environment, but especially when applied to affiliate management.
Back in 1978, when James MacGregor Burns introduced the concept, he defined transformational leadership as a process in which “leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation.” Throughout the years — as a result of additional research, observations and analyses — we have seen various models of transformational leadership evolve. What remained unchanged, however, was the focus. As Jean F. East summarized it in his volume on the subject, “transformational leadership is ultimately about people and relationships.”
Successful affiliate program management has always been relationship-based and heavily so. If you are managing an affiliate program, the first step is to realize that it’s the program that you’re managing (not the affiliates that drive its performance). The second (and equally important) step is to take the principles of transformational leadership and transfer them over to how you work with your affiliates.
As transformational leader, you want to be (i) inspirational in how you motivate affiliates, (ii) intellectually stimulating, and always (iii) practicing individualized consideration.
Almost 10 years, opening an industry conference in Tel Aviv, I suggested that we apply principles of transformational leadership to the context of affiliate program management. Above you may find the respective clip from that speech of mine.
I wish you the best of luck interweaving these leadership concepts with how you handle your own affiliate program: from affiliate recruitment and motivation to activate, to ongoing encouragement, support, and (your mutual) growth.