Required skills: teamwork! How many times have we all seen that? It seems no job application goes without this line.
But how often is good intrateam collaboration mentioned? This topic doesn’t seem to get enough attention.
Teamwork is extremely important, but more often than not, teams can’t do it all themselves. They need the help of other teams to make things happen, and there are ways to help them cooperate better.
It Takes Two, Baby!
Unless you’re a solo dancer, you’re bound to interact with many different departments within a company.
Some teams often concentrate so much on their tasks that they forget others are working on something, too. The sales team may think they’re the main dancers, and everyone else the supporting artist, but the design team may feel the opposite way. This mindset affects the way coworkers interact greatly.
It’s not uncommon for people to believe the stage is all theirs, but in this case, it can be quite counter-productive. Various parts of the company need to achieve some objectives together, and in order to do that collaboration is essential. No deal can be achieved fairly if one side acts superior to others.
Whether this relationship is going to be a good or a bad one, is up to you and your attitude. Of course, it takes two to tango, but if you’re trying hard to makes things work, the other side may follow your lead.
Dance a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes
People who share an assignment usually share the same office space as well, separated from others who are in charge of something else. For example, the design team usually won’t be sitting with sales agents. This makes perfect sense, but it inevitably isolates them from each other. They’ll each grow into a certain way of communicating and getting things done. This process is necessary for them to work well internally.
The bad side arises along with the need for external cooperation, like when it’s necessary to find out what customers value most in order to create the perfect product or campaign. The different methodologies are in a collision, and impatience grows. Add to that the fact designers don’t know what the sales team does on a daily basis and vice-versa, and you’ll have an ongoing battle on your hands.
The best way to calm things down is to help your team see the other side as well. Make them think about where’s the other team coming from. What difficulties are they dealing with? What does it take to do what they do?
Just try to step into their shoes. Talk to them, listen to what they’re facing every day. Organize workshops, let the teams work on something together, without the team leaders stepping on their feet. Everyone might learn many useful lessons. They’ll also see their achievements from another perspective, the good and the bad side - how they contribute and how their overdue tasks affect others.
Once your team has managed to see things from the other team’s point of view, everything will be much clearer already. People will be more aware of the things they’re not doing right, and they’ll be more careful in pointing out others’ wrong steps. Humility and humanity are the keywords here. After all, you’re not dealing with a radio you have to smack when it doesn’t work properly. The ones you have difficulties working with are people, too.
Fighting for the Same Trophy
When something’s not going our way, we get upset. When someone doesn’t understand us, we get nervous. All this contributes to impatience in the workplace, and managers need to act on it sooner rather than later.
People often forget the most basic things, like the fact all departments strive towards the same goal: keeping the company in business. Reminding everyone of this seemingly implied yet crucial detail might help in settling things down and increasing productivity. With this matter in mind, one should rise above petty arguments and realize the company’s interests match their own. Once this happens, they’ll try harder to synchronize their steps with the other teams, rather than engage in a dance-off.