Leaders who kill team spirit | Sunday Observer

Leaders who kill team spirit

21 May, 2023

A workplace is a beautiful sanctuary if we can promote and ensure a nice cross functional collaboration for synergy for maximisation of returns and equally importantly to improve job satisfaction by inculcating the family culture – which in the end builds a powerful sustainable business with happy people who share the same human values.

A business organisation is a melting pot of people, processes, and actions coming together to work towards a common goal. This is something that has to be built with the right leadership from the top. The leader has to set the tone, live by principle and promote it with every word he says and every action he engages in. And that’s respected and admired leadership.

When a business grows, there are many moving parts, and they clash and clank frequently. When the operating environment is very tough, employees going beyond their core job and assisting each other within their limitations can be very useful especially when you have tight budgets. Cross-functional collaboration is an antidote to that chaos. It helps cross-functional teams build harmony across the organisation through which to create business value.

Working in silos is a common phenomenon in many organisations – that have bygone cultures and holding on to old school theories in particular. It refers to the practice of individual teams or departments working independently and not sharing responsibilities and helping each other to maximise the returns on invested capabilities in people.

When managers are expected to work in silos, there is little collaboration between different functional groups, which can lead to duplication of efforts and inefficient use of resources leading to losses.

Different perspectives

One major challenge of working in silos is that it limits the use of capabilities among different teams or departments. This lack of communication can result in misunderstandings, miscommunications, and even conflicts between team members.

When employees work solely within their departmental boundaries, they may miss out on valuable insights from others who have different perspectives on the same problem. The reason why organisations recruit managers with diverse backgrounds is to enhance the organisational capacity in terms of knowledge and skills so as a team you own the best.

Breaking down silos also requires a shift in organisational culture. Leaders need to encourage open communication, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among employees at all levels. This includes providing opportunities for training and development that emphasise the importance of working together towards common goals. In doing so, organisations can foster a culture of collaboration that enables them to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and drive better results over time. Over time, when department members become hyper-focused on their own processes, it becomes easy for team members to get stuck in old ways of thinking and doing things.

Improving cross-functional collaboration allows teams and departments to share ideas more freely. This, in turn, can challenge some of that stale thinking and breathe new life into each department and the organisation as a whole. Through practice of modern leadership old ideas are challenged and different perspectives are introduced, new ideas and perspectives can emerge to move the organisation forward and gain a competitive edge.


Clearly, there are many ways in which an organisation of any size can benefit from strong cross-functional collaboration. Of course, getting to that point of interdepartmental teamwork isn’t always a walk in the park. In fact, there are many common challenges that functional managers and other professionals face while trying to encourage cross-functional collaboration in the workplace. When diverse teams lack a shared understanding, it can be difficult for them to work together successfully because no one’s on the same page.

Right context

The best thing you can do in this situation is to make sure that everyone involved in a cross-functional collaboration initiative has the right context. You can achieve this with clear communication with all team members involved in the collaboration: Openly discuss why a project is important, how it ties into big-picture company goals, why the teams are collaborating in the first place. To be able to do this, leadership is critical. If you hold on to old school theories, then you hinder the efforts of functional leaders seeing the value on their own and making an effort to collaborate. And at the end the organisation suffers.

Modern organisations that never fail; be it rain or sunshine, practice these philosophies to face the real world challenges. Any person providing the leadership to an organisation should realise the value of collaboration amongst the key members for multiple rationale reasons; Promote synergy to minimise cost, use of talents invested in, ensure a culture of tem performance and job satisfaction to retain the critical talent for business sustainability in this very volatile economic environment.

In a perfect world, teams would collaborate seamlessly across departments. In reality, though, this is rarely the case — unless top most leaders encourage and make this happen.