Relationship-Oriented Attitudes and Behaviors

Tricia and Her Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers

Tricia is the human resources team leader in the regional headquarters of an international bank. She has five direct reports plus considerable individual responsibility for carrying out various human resource initiatives. About six months ago, Tricia started thinking about how she could improve her leadership effectiveness with her team of human resource professionals, plus one support person. As she reflected on feedback she had received from their boss, the vice president of administration, Tricia thought that perhaps she was a little too business-like and task oriented. The insight came to her that perhaps she should become Facebook friends and have Twitter exchanges with her staff of five.
Tricia’s first step was to invite each staff member to become a Facebook friend and also follow each group member on Twitter. (all five direct reports already had Facebook and Twitter accounts). Tricia began her social media initiative by writing about strictly work-related topics, with posts such as the following:
“I feel good about the response we are getting to our proposed wellness program.”
“Did you catch how the regional VP of administration said in her monthly intranet post that our team was doing a great job?”
“Our new group interview program seems to be working. Most of our new hires are turning in above-average performance, and turnover among them is below average.”
After a couple of months of these business-like posts on Facebook and Twitter, Tricia did not observe that she and the group were developing a better personal relationship. Consequently, she decided to send posts that were more personal, including the following:
“How about you and I spending a little quality time at the shopping mall this weekend?”
My two-year old nephew is having a birthday party October 10 at noon. Yu are warmly invited. Let me know ASAP.”
“I thought that taupe and beige combination you wore to the office today was stunning. The way you dress picks up morale.”
My boyfriend was angry with me last night because he said I don’t like his parents.”
“Don’t let the fact that I’m the team leader interfere with us being friends.”

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Tricia did receive a few positive responses from her posts, but a few responses to her posts suggested the team members were not comfortable receiving the personal messages. One tweet response was simply “????.”


1. What would you advise Tricia to do about future posts of a personal nature to the team?
2. Which one or two relationship-oriented behaviors does Tricia appear to be exaggerating?
3. If your team leader sent you a post about his or her team leadership role and your potential friendship, how would you respond?
Note: Relationship-Oriented Attitudes and Behaviors:
1. Aligning people
2. Openness to worker opinions
3. Creating inspiration and visibility
4. Satisfying higher-level needs
5. Giving emotional support and encouragement
6. Promoting principles and values
7. Being a servant leader

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