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Types of Relational Interests and Skills

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Dimensions of Relational Work

Summary of Butler's and Waldroop's 4 Dimensions. Abstract

Timothy Butler and James Waldroop

Butler's and Waldroop's 4 Dimensions were presented in the HBR of June 2004. According to Butler and Waldroop, interpersonal savvy is critical in almost any area of business.

Managers can boost productivity by:

A. hiring the right employees

B. make the best work (project) assignments

C. reward performance in the right way

D. promote career development.

No wonder most managers think they know which of their "people" are good at dealing with interpersonal relations and which aren't.

However, contrary to mainstream thinking, Waldroop and Butler say one should distinguish between 4 types of relational interests and skills:

1. Influence: Professionals who enjoy developing and extending their sphere of interpersonal influence. They take pleasure in persuasion, negotiation and the power of holding valuable information and ideas. Typical for Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Negotiators and M&A dealmakers.

2. Interpersonal Facilitation: People that are keenly attuned to the interpersonal aspects of work situations. They intuitively focus on others' experiences and usually quietly behind the scenes to keep their colleagues committed and engaged so that projects run smoothly. Typical for HR managers.

3. Relational Creativity: People who are good at forging connections with groups of people through visual and verbal imagery. Typical for advertising people and brand managers.

4. Team Leadership: People with a strong need to see and interact with other people (team members and customers) frequently to feel satisfied. They love managing and working through high-energy teams in busy service environments. Typical for Program Managers and Managers of Direct Service Delivery Units.

These four dimensions of relational work are not discrete types; a person can have great interest and skill in two or more area's or in none of them. Also scoring high in one dimension may be detrimental to other areas and to certain types of work.

All 4 types of relational work contribute to the bottom line (financial capital and intellectual capital) and should be rewarded. Certain types of people will be sensitive to specific types of (non-)financial rewards. Senior Managers working on corporate strategy and financial performance are advised to remain sufficiently attentive to relational work: a business strategy is only as good as the people and teams who carry it out.

Book: Timothy Butler Ph.D., James Waldroop Ph.D. - Discovering Your Career in Business 

Book: Patrick M. Lencioni - The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

👀TIP: On this website you can find much more about interpersonal and relational skills!

Compare with the 4 Dimensions of Relational Work:  ERG Theory Emotional Intelligence  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Six Change Approaches  |  Seven Habits  |  Seven Surprises  |  PAEI

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