Your department vs. your company

05 juli 2021

As a manager, have you sometimes caught yourself thinking “jeezzz what are they doing down the hall, they are so inefficient!”

If you have, don’t feel too bad about it because you’re not alone. It’s actually surprisingly common for companies to experience friction between departments.

The maintenance department doesn’t understand what the heck the production department is up to. Sales *really* doesn’t have time to deal with logistic’s delays. The customer service department has no idea what the marketing department is up to again.

Well... you get the picture.

Of course having different departments within a company is important. Every team has distinct responsibilities, skill sets and may even use a completely different vocabulary to get the job done (hello engineers!) But just because people have individual tasks to complete, that doesn’t mean that they work in a vacuum.

In fact, every single person working within the company serves one main goal:

Fulfilling the mission of the organization.

And as a manager, even if you’ve succeeded at running your own department like a well-oiled machine, if the organization as a whole is running squeakily, it might be time to reach across the aisle and see how things could be improved... by working more closely with members of other departments.

Now before you think “I already have a gazillion things to do, I do NOT have time to get more involved with anyone!”, here are some benefits to consider:

  1. Working together better fulfills the needs of all departments (yours included!)

    Collaboration allows different team members to bring their own specific skills and perspectives to the table, resulting in new solutions and better results. That problem you’ve been struggling with for months now? The solution might’ve been right under your nose (across the hall!) all along.

  2. Your employees gain a far broader insight into the company

    Learning and collaborating with other departments is a great way to understand the company’s moving parts and how those parts could work together better. When members of different teams communicate often, ask questions, and understand the nature of each other’s work, productivity is boosted considerably.

  3. Your blind spots get highlighted

    Sharing your own procedures with other departments allows you to become more conscious of the way you do things. Perhaps they can highlight any blind spots you may have? Perhaps some things seem confusing to them, encouraging you to streamline your own processes?

  4. Understanding each other’s work encourages team spirit

    Once you gain a greater sense of the challenges the other departments are facing (“Their workload is even worse than ours!”) and discover ways to support each other, team morale goes up across the organization. And who isn’t up for a boost in morale?

While stepping outside of the boundaries of your department might feel uncomfortable at first, do remember that it’s not impolite nor incorrect to get involved with other departments.

Being able to collaborate cross-department will allow you to smoothen out frictions and inefficiencies, benefiting the company — and everyone involved — in the long run.

Doing so doesn’t make you out of line... it simply makes you a great manager.

Good luck!

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