by C. Villefrance Moeller, TalesOfLeading
“We can help each other. Maybe finish some of the shipments and so. But it is more difficult to say now you can just borrow 2 or 3 of my men!” The team leader said. He had been in business for decades and new how to get the shipments ready for the trucks. His colleagues described how he could shout and swear. A real firefighter he was and he loved to be the one who saved the day. One of his colleagues describes a difference in his approach: “I think my department is rather good and harmonic department. They do what they have to do. I don’t interfere in their planning and things like that and I don’t tell them what to do.” These two team leaders are part of the same management team and as such they have to collaborate on the enterprise main task. Don’t they?
A shared task with a common purpose
The management team shares the task of developing the business of their company. Their performance as a company dependens of the management team’s ability to work collaboratively and see through the walls of the silos. It implies a shared purpose for their work. A vision is a destination for the journey the management team embarks on and the purpose is their reason to travel and do a lot of hard work. The individual manager can identify with the purpose if she benefits from working cooperatively on the shared task. The motives are individual for the managers and they can have very different motives to do it.
Shared information paint a bigger picture
There is more information in the organization than the management system show. Every employee in contact with the customers, suppliers and internal processes get’s fragments of information, that put together with information from other employees in other departments can paint a meaningful picture of the world the company operates in. This leads to a situation where the manager where ever she is in the organizational hierocracy cannot have the answer to all questions. Instead she can facilitate sharing knowledge and learning opportunities in the organization.
Learning in the management team is a shared task
To create learning the manager can create a space for reflection and thinking in trying to understand what works and what doesn’t work and why. Learning in this context is more than competencies appropriate to the individual. It’s also the shared experience that arises from working on a shared task. The shared task is in this context the development of the business defined by the purpose and the vision. Along the way there will be a lot of problems, the management team must work its way through.
The management team as a group
The managers in the management team can be seen as representatives from the departments in the organization. They represent the area of what they are responsible of. The relations between the managers create dynamics in the group that influences the organizations rational work with collecting information and reflection on the information. It can prevent them from sharing information at hamper learning opportunities.
Questions for you:
- What do you want to share with your peers?
- Do you collaborate across functions?
- Do you have the same picture of the purpose as your peers?