Can Your Managers Work Across Functions?

Can Your Managers Work Across Functions?
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Dealing with Cross Functional Teams
Being able to effectively influence your own team is challenging enough; learning how to influence people and teams in other functions is on a whole different level. But both challenges involve common skills, and both have an impact on how successful you are as a manager. Can your managers work across functions?

As the leader of a team, managers need to know how to fully engage their team members in a collaborative effort to reach common goals and accountabilities. In most organizations today, managers also need to be able to effectively navigate across functions and harness the efforts of those outside their team to ensure success. Leaders need to build relationships beyond their team – across functions and often across geographies.

In new manager training, new managers learn they cannot rely simply on their title to get things accomplished. The best leaders use their influencing skills to enlist the support of others to get the job done.

How to Build Relationships Across Functions
To effectively lead a high performing team to deliver with quality and speed, leaders need strong influencing practices. Here are some tips on how to help managers work across functions to build relationships with stakeholders outside the team who matter to the team’s success:

  • Look Around the Corner
    Not only must the team have a realistic and comprehensive understanding of the current situation, but team leaders also need a clear view of future opportunities. Horizontal and vertical thinking is required to create the strategies and tactics necessary for team success. Make sure you explicitly identify and collaborate with those key stakeholders who have influence over and care about your team’s current and future goals. 
  • Build Trust
    We know that trust is the foundation for all healthy relationships. An absence of trust limits the ability to gain commitment and support. Are you behaving in a trustworthy manner in your relationships beyond the team by doing what you say you will do and always acting with integrity and respect?
  • Establish Common Ground
    Figure out what would constitute a win-win for you and for those you have identified as critical stakeholders. Be creative in determining interdependencies and how you can work productively together for mutual benefit.
  • Practice the Art of Persuasion
    The best leaders know how to clearly articulate their vision of the future and inspire others to march along with them. It’s a question of communicating in a way that motivates others to collaborate with you.

The Bottom Line
To help managers work across functions, ensure that your management development programs include the ability to effectively influence key stakeholders across functions. Are your managers doing all they can to establish a network that will support their team’s success?

To learn more about how to help managers work across functions, download 6 Ways to Foster Better Project Team Collaboration

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