How Can Managers Foster Collaboration Between Departments?

Apr 17, 2019

3 mins

How Can Managers Foster Collaboration Between Departments?
Géraldine Baraud

Journaliste - consultante éditoriale

Do you find that the departments in your company work too independently of each other, don’t interact, or don’t understand each other? This lack of communication can keep a company from running smoothly and create a negative environment. As a manager, how do you encourage teams to look beyond their area of activity in the company? What tools should you use to make it appealing? What pitfalls should you avoid? Here’s our summary of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to enhancing your company’s collective intelligence.

Do: Discuss the issue with your colleagues and superiors

Have you spoken about this issue with managers of other departments? It’s highly likely that you’re not the only one who has noted the situation. Perhaps others accept it, but why not open their eyes to the benefits of increased communication between teams? It could lead to achieving more objectives and a better work environment. If you do decide to increase communication between your department and the rest of the company, you’ll need maximum support. Start with winning over colleagues who hold similar positions in management.
Also, discuss your plans with your superiors, who should welcome your initiative as being in the the company’s best interests. Their emotional, financial, and logistical support will be necessary, especially if you need to invest in new tools or organize events.

Don’t: Create competition between your team and others

Do you have a competitive spirit and want to show that your team performs better than others in the company? Bad idea. This approach will only accentuate the gap between colleagues. At worst, it will create counterproductive conflicts.
There are other, more constructive approaches to expressing pride in your team’s results, such as this…

Do: Create time for exchange

Whether it’s once a week, monthly, or every trimester, organizing get-togethers between teams can create a solid foundation for establishing communication. To clarify priorities, make sure to define each gathering, whether as a scheduling meeting, challenge, creativity workshop, post-work event, or inter-team work group for a particular project. Plan these meetings with your management colleagues or even ask your own team for input about their wants and needs.
During these moments of exchange, make it easy for participants to talk about their daily tasks.

Do: Share information

As a manager, you’ll have access to important information via your employer or other managers. Without revealing anything too confidential, be sure to share, with your team and other teams, details about projects, objectives, or even problems in other parts of the company. Communicate about your own team with other managers—your feedback with help other teams to progress. This will create unity around a common goal and give meaning to your colleagues’ work. They’ll feel more involved and better positioned to propose practical solutions for the company.

Don’t: Disrespect team boundaries

Dialogue and exchange are built on respect for the skills, missions, and function of each team. Set boundaries. No one should dictate the approach you and your team use, and you shouldn’t judge other teams’ methods either.

Do: Choose good communication tools

In addition to the necessary physical meetings, a multitude of tools (especially digital ones) can facilitate the sharing of information and collaboration between teams on a regular basis.
Think beyond email, which we tend to overuse. Other tools are more appropriate for generating interaction. Platforms such as Slack enable you to exchange content and have simultaneous remote conversations. Extremely practical for people in sales, Swabbl facilitates the sharing of contacts internally and connecting people. Another good tool is the video-conference platform Glowbl, which simplifies the organization of remote meetings.
There are many solutions. Sometimes it’s necessary to test several to find the best one for your needs and your company.

Don’t: Overwhelm others with your jargon

Most professions have their own language, especially in Tech. Be sure to adapt your vocabulary when dealing with teams that don’t work in your domain. It’s not always easy to translate, but making an effort will be appreciated: You’ll see that others will make more of an effort to understand you.

Do: Set an example

Do you really hope to increase collaboration between your team and others? It may seem obvious, but aim to be an example by showing you’re as open as possible to other departments in your company. Make sure people understand that your main priority is working better together.

In all companies, bonds between employees can be sources of motivation and happiness at work, and thus boost performance. Prioritizing openness, communication, mutual comprehension, and common goals is the way to achieve success, both collective and individual.

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Photograph by WTTJ

Translated by Kate Lindsmith

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