6 Ways to Build Effective Cross-Group or Interdepartmental Communication

Part of the Managing All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

How you build relationships and interact with staff and managers from other groups greatly affects the cooperation you get from them when you need it. Effective communication plays a large part in developing an assertive, respectful approach to working relationships.

Build strong interdepartmental communication with these strategies:

  • Make sharing information a normal practice. If you have information that someone may need, take the initiative and pass it on. When you're a good information source, people find you a valuable manager to work with.

  • Listen and find out about other groups' needs. Be attentive to others' concerns instead of focusing solely on your own.

  • Talk about the greater good when working on issues. The greater good is the organization, project goals, and customer needs. When the greater good becomes the focus, the discussion moves away from "your way versus my way" to what we need to accomplish together to make something happen that benefits us all.

  • Bring closure to discussions. Listen actively to clarify points. Ask about next steps. Recap action items, and even write them up and distribute the notes so that everyone remembers what was agreed to. This way, you prevent misunderstandings and rehashing of old issues.

  • Show gratitude. Showing sincere appreciation and recognition can go a long way in building bridges of understanding and cooperation.

  • Resolve problems with peers person to person. When concerns arise, as they often do when you're coordinating and working on issues with other managers, take the initiative to go to the other manager and start the dialogue. When you go to other leaders directly to constructively settle differences and solve problems, you build credibility and command respect — key ingredients for eliciting cooperation from others.

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