Trinity Services, Inc

From My Pad to Yours. . . 


A Blog by Art Dykstra

From My Pad to Yours is about leadership and other topics, and is written by Art Dykstra, Director of the Trinity Consulting Group.

Manager-to-Manager Relationships

by Art Dykstra | Nov 29, 2017

From an organizational dynamic or effectiveness perspective, the quality of relationships between managers may be more important than the nature of the relationships within a given unit. Every business—be it for-profit or nonprofit—struggles with the natural tendency of managers to view their position or department as being the most important part of the company. For example, the sharing of resources is always a potential hot spot for conflict and discussion. The ways in which managers relate to one another is of critical significance if the organization is to thrive.

In organizations that provide both residential and day services or supports, it is not uncommon for major hostilities to erupt between these departments. In fact, the staff may not even speak courteously with one another. Scapegoating is a favored course of action, and it permeates the entire staff. Rather than resolve issues that arise, they focus on the negative: “They didn’t even do this.” “They did that.” “They won’t do this.”

For example, vocational staff may complain that a residential worker didn’t pack a sufficient lunch for one of the program participants. Residential staff blame the vocational staff for not telling them that an individual would be late getting home because of a picnic. To make matters worse, the managers of the program will sometimes assume that what they don’t hear won’t hurt them, so the conflicts remain unresolved. It’s no wonder that certain CEOs frequently rely on a deputy or associate director to mediate such conflicts.

It is important that managers spend time with each other, sharing insights, supporting one another and developing collaborative efforts. At Trinity we work to provide managers with training and opportunities to practice these relational behaviors. Among the activities are:

  • A Leadership Retreat, attended by all the leadership staff—directors and managers. During the retreat, staff enjoy presentations on a variety of topics and opportunities for practicing elements of the leadership skills they have learned.
  • Scheduled learning groups of 15 to 20 managers. Participants receive further exposure to leadership skills, such as communication techniques, planning, leadership styles, conflict management, and other timely topics. The trainings provide participants an opportunity to discuss their particular departments and how they can apply the concepts.

These activities and others foster an awareness of the organization as a whole and provide face-to-face interactions that promote collaboration, understanding and mutual support.


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