Collaboration across multiple departments and even within the same team is not always an easy task. Each department may think that their role is more important than those of others. While sales people might perceive that marketing people are disrupting their work it might be the same marketing effort that helps them get that special client. While HR might regard IT team with suspicion they may find that the smooth running of the company’s systems is what they need to maximise their efforts.
Teams that truly collaborate between them are in a better position to share knowledge and inspire each other on a daily basis. This brings about creativity and effective problem solving.
Collaboration is what distinguishes top companies hence managers and executives need to be the first in line to promote this culture where communication, respect and transparency thrive. Here are a few tips on how this can be achieved.
Empathy and understanding
Recognising that departments have the same ultimate goals may create a “we’re in this together” attitude. Having a common goal will help teams understand each other’s’ frustrations and challenges therefore reinforcing team spirit.
By tearing apart personal biases teams will manage to have a clearer picture of how they can move forward together and that their success depends on other departments’ success.
Team leaders as the prime promoters of communication and internal transparency
Team leaders, being the front persons of each department, must provide internal transparency about their workflows and projects to increase visibility on what’s going on. By taking this approach, teams will understand each other’s challenges thus creating an intra-departmental emphatic connection.
A misalignment between departments such as that between sales and marketing can run into conflict if it is not clear to one what the other is doing. Teams relying on other departments’ help need also be aware on the resources available and would therefore simplify tasks by planning and structuring their requests.
To err is human, everyone is subject to making mistakes. Recognition of this fact is essential and building a forgiving culture helps instil trust, humanness and a sense of calling among employees.
Failures serve as learning opportunities and a way of seeking higher purposes. Moreover forgiveness provides a supportive environment where people are allowed to heal and restore their positive energy after a particular negative episode.
The final moral here is to treat your colleagues and other teams as human beings. The leadership style needs to reflect constant fairness and equity. Leadership by example will set the tone for a more positive and productive culture, furthering the overall wellbeing of the entire organisation.