Rivalries between internal departments can bring a sense of competition and motivation to the workplace, but what happens when said rivalries bring out feelings of tension and strain between teams? Cross department rivalries are nothing new in a professional environment - it’s natural for contrasting teams to compete for power and credibility. However, when these rivalries bring out conflict and distrust, it becomes less of an inconvenience and more of a costly issue.
When it comes to collaborating with other departments, employees may feel that it is challenging to synchronize complex tasks, prioritize those items, and communicate. According to a SalesForce Survey, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the reason behind workplace failures. The same study suggests that approximately 97% of surveyed workers indicate that lack of alignment within a team negatively impacts the outcome of a task or project. If any of this sounds familiar, you can ask your team these 4 questions to determine how you can reduce the negative effects of cross department rivalries.
What Values Do We Create Together?
In order to ascertain how everyone's strengths best fit into a project, it is essential to determine the team’s technical abilities and how they can be combined. Value is realized when those functions are clearly understood and the team is able to discern their shared contributions that drive performance.
For example, a team working on a project implementing cloud solutions may be composed of several engineers, analysts and product sales individuals. Each person has their own skills that set them apart from each other - these values should be laid out in a meeting before the start of the project to make sure everyone is on the same page. By identifying these key skills, your organization can greatly reduce any conflicting goals and better manage project tensions that may have otherwise taken place.
What Capabilities Do We Need to Achieve These Values?
Having established values and tasks before a project starts allows team members to better focus on the task at hand. Now, it’s essential to lay out how your team is going to achieve these values and identify any missing capabilities or processes that interfere with the overall project. Since finding time to meet with all the departments involved may be a hassle, this is where proper communication comes into play.
How Will We Resolve Conflicts While Maintaining Communication And Trust?
It’s natural to butt-heads with someone who has opposing views on how to get the job done. When you feel like you’re getting frustrated with someone, it’s time to sit down with that person and discuss why you are feeling discontent. Answering this question shows that you are respecting everyone involved with the project and taking positive steps toward discovering a solution that is beneficial to all. When these concerns are fully aired, it gives someone an opportunity to explain their process to identify what is not working. The goal is to increase the trust and communication between departments, which in turn builds a stronger commitment to the collective success of the team.
How Can We Help Each Other Succeed?
Last, but certainly not least, this question is about establishing support and camaraderie between departments. Make sure each individual has access to the tools and technology that will help everyone succeed as a team. If you sense someone is struggling, offer any guidance and support that will simplify the prior established commitments and make sure no one is falling behind. When every individual succeeds, the team succeeds as a whole.
A Final Note
Cross Department issues will inevitably come up, having established guidelines in place is what prevents these conflicts from turning into full-blown rivalries. If you see strained cross-functional relationships within your organization, alleviate the tension by going through these questions and communicating any concerns.
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