Successful Cross Functional Teams Have Highly Developed Human Skills
Successful cross functional teams have strong organisational cohesion, which allows them to work efficiently towards achieving strategic initiatives. Develop your cross functional teams to grow with the agility and speed they need to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities.
What are cross functional teams?
Cross functional teams consist of people from different areas of an organisation, for example:
- product support
- product development
Many small organisations are a single cross functional team. In larger organisations, the members of a cross functional team may also sit with their own function teams. The different perspectives that these people bring from not only their own functions but also their role-relevant personality types, allow a diversity of thought that sparks innovation, complex problem solving and creative discussion. But, if not managed well it can also result in conflict and discord.
The purpose of the cross functional team is to utilise diversity to enable innovation. However, it can make for difficult team planning and development. These personalities may not be a typically ideal ‘team fit’. They are likely to have different operational, delivery and learning styles. Those who prefer structure and order may find it difficult to work with a high performing but maverick salesperson, and vice versa.
It’s important to embrace the personality differences and work on the human skills that will bridge these differences to enable team cohesion, communication and build a diverse team community able to deliver success.
What are the most important human skills?
The most important of human skills are:
- emotional intelligence
Most people have some measure of these skills. Yet we are often unconscious of them and how we can improve them.
Emotional intelligence in cross functional teams
Developing emotional and social awareness is the foundation to improving our human skills. From here we can better understand our triggers and responses. We can put triggers into perspective and learn to respond in a manner which is proportionate and appropriate to the situation we face.
Going back to that rule breaker sales-maverick, with greater awareness and regulation they can learn to develop a regard for others who may not share their personality traits and be more mindful and empathetic in how they interact. It works the other way too. The rule-enforcer from accounts can learn to understand that the maverick may be lax at financial admin, but with appropriate communication they can find a way to get the job done.
The end result? No one has fallen out. There is no discord and time previously spent in conflict resolution is better spent on something more productive. This is a very simple example of how seemingly small improvements in human skills can make a lasting and deep positive impact on workplace relationships, which ultimately drive greater productivity and innovation.
Resilience & motivation in cross functional teams
Cross functional teams can also reduce the ‘silo effect’ within an organisation, whether remote, hybrid or office based. Most of us need human interaction to remain motivated and resilient. Even those of us who are self-reliant benefit from being part of a team. It boosts spirits when times are tough, and it’s always uplifting to share successes. The cat doesn’t care if you just secured a big contract, but your co-worker in operations probably will. Especially if that means their job is more secure as a result of your work.
Working on our own resilience and motivation is hugely beneficial for our well-being at work. We learn to better deal with pressure and push through when the outlook is bleak. It’s even more powerful when a team with cross functionality works together to build motivation and resilience.
Improvements in collaboration help to identify and fix inefficiencies, which can greatly reduce cycle times. Development of assertiveness, instead of aggression in communication will help to avoid one function becoming too dominant and unbalancing the team.
Successful collaboration is strongly related to good communication skills. Communication skills include actively listening to colleagues and willing engagement in conflict resolution to mitigate the effects of miscommunications as well as keeping projects and organisational initiatives on track. PeopleScout.
Optimism is infectious. A simple ‘yes, we can do that’, could be the green light that others need to innovate process, product and practice. When a cross functional team works at its optimum, it’s members recognise the performance and contribution of others, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may have been at the time.
Recruiting for & developing human skills
Human skills are difficult to accurately gauge in a one or two stage interview. A psychometric assessment such as flowprofiler® will give you a great steer in assessing your candidate’s emotional intelligence, resilience and motivation. The report provides appropriate questions to ask at interview to gain insights into how they respond to challenges.
Recruiting for human skills takes a deliberate and strategic approach. It could sit with a greater framework of value that places these skills at the core of your organisation, from entry level to CEO. Take the opportunity at each stage of the employee lifecycle to consider the human skills of your people to ensure that you promote the right people, rather than over-promote, and support them as they progress.
The Society for Human Resource Management found that 84% of HR professionals stated they found a deficit of key soft skills including creative and critical thinking among candidates. With greater emotional intelligence, resilience and motivation skills, combined with technical creativity training, this deficit can be effectively addressed.
Talk to us about how recruitment, development and leadership with flowprofiler® will help you to create cross functional teams that deliver success.
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