Working well with your fellow team leaders

How well do you work with other team leaders in your organization? That’s an important question, because without good peer relationships, it’s very difficult to coordinate projects or work cooperatively across team lines. And good working relationships with other team leaders are certainly key to improving your effectiveness at the job you all have in common—being supervisors and people managers. Here’s some expert insight into strengthening your peer relationships:

Explore informal group training and skill sharing. Each of you is probably better than the others at some aspect of people management—working with unions, understanding workplace law, running meetings and so on.

Set up informal “brown bag” get-togethers where the experts in one area can share ideas, point their peers to valuable resources and answer questions. This is a very useful way to bring new managers up to speed.

Solve problems rather than passing them on. If you want to build and maintain respect and credibility among your peers, identify and solve problems before they land in other managers’ laps.

This is especially true for personnel issues. If you’ve got a team member whose skills or work habits aren’t up to speed, do some coaching before sending him off to the next project. If your peers have bad experiences with your former team members, your reputation will be among the things that suffer.

Difficult People D

Show respect for others’ authority. Don’t let your desire to bond with your team members put you at odds with your peers.

If you share with your team a less-than-stellar opinion of other teams and their leaders, it doesn’t just undermine those leaders’ authority. It also promotes employees’ negative attitudes toward management as a whole—including you. Advocate for your team when it’s having problems with another, but convey your confidence that the other team and its leader can solve those problems satisfactorily.

Doing right by your fellow team leaders benefits you as well as them. It will help ensure that your peers’ support will be there when you need it. And your team members will pick up that collaboration is a norm in your organization—and demonstrate it themselves.