4 Dimensions of Relational Work
(Butler and Waldroop)

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Influence, Interpersonal Facilitation, Relational Creativity and Team Leadership. Explanation of Dimensions of Relational Work of Butler and Waldroop. ('04)


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The 4 Dimensions of Relational Work of Timothy Butler and James Waldroop is presented in the HBR of June 2004. According to Butler and Waldroop, interpersonal common sense is critical in almost any area of business.

Basically, Managers can boost productivity by:

  • By hiring the right employees.
  • By making the best work (project) assignments.
  • By rewarding performance in the right way.
  • By promoting career development.

No wonder most managers think they know which of their people are good at dealing with interpersonal relations and which aren't. Although this may seem obvious, Waldroop and Butler say one should distinguish between 4 types of relational interests and skills:

The 4 Dimensions of Relational Work are:

  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 Mergers and Acquisitions dealmakers.
  2. Interpersonal Facilitation: People that are keenly attuned to the interpersonal aspects of work situations. They intuitively focus on experiences of other people and they operate usually quietly behind the scenes. In this way they keep their colleagues committed and engaged so that projects run smoothly. Typical for Human Resources managers. Compare also: Facilitation Styles
  3. Relational Creativity: People who are good at making connections with groups of people through visual and verbal imagery. Typical for advertising people and brand managers.
  4. Team Leadership: These are people that want to see other people, and interact with them. They like managing and working in high-energy teams in hectic 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 areas 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 -

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Personal Networks of Successful Change Agents

Organizational change is often difficult to achieve because it disturbs the hierarchical structures and the way to accomplish things. For this reason ...
Usage (application): Leading Major and Minor Change Initiatives

How to Assess Relational Skills?

Influence skills:
- Look for a history of being elected to leadership positions.
- Ask a question with no right or wrong answer duri...
Usage (application): Human Resources, Leadership

Establishing a Relational Work Enviroment

According to Lisa Merlo there are 5 things business leaders can do to create a relational work environment:
1. Speak to all employees w...
Usage (application): Best Practices

Relational Skills when Creating Balanced Teams

Managers should try to make sure that their teams include people with skills in all four dimensions of relational work in order to not ignore critical...
Usage (application): Human Resources, Leadership

How to Develop Better Relational Skills?

Although it is not necessary to be interested in or skilled at all four dimensions of relational work in order to succeed in your job, it is important...
Usage (application): Human Resources, Leadership

Resources - Dimensions of Relational Work Premium

How to Develop Effective Workplace Relationships?

This presentation discusses the development of efficient workplace relationships in detail. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. ...
Usage (application): Relationship Management, Employee Relationship,

Employee Relations / Labor Relations

This presentation provides you with information about employee relationships within organizations and union environments. The presentation includes th...
Usage (application): Relationship Management, Employee Relationship

Peer and Co-worker Relationships

This presentation is about the relationship between peer and co-workers, and includes the following sections:
1. Nature of Co-worker Relationship...
Usage (application): Relationship Management, Emotional Intelligence, Coaching, Emotional Work, Relationship at Work, Employee Relationships


Interpersonal Relationships


Business Relationships


Interpersonal Relationships


Business Relationships


Interpersonal Relationships


Business Relationships


Interpersonal Relationships


Business Relationships

Compare with the 4 Dimensions of Relational Work:  ERG Theory  |  Coaching  |  Mentoring  |  Emotional Intelligence  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Six Change Approaches  |  Seven Habits  |  Seven Surprises  |  PAEI  |  Johari Window  |  Facilitation Styles

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