Great Leaders Break Down the Silos and Conflicts Hampering Collaboration
As I wrote in the previous blog post on Great Leaders Excel At Creating Collaboration, collaboration works best when there are “big picture” results for customers and the organization.
When there is no clear-line-of-sight to such big picture results, conflict hampers the collaboration process. Conflict often ensues when the perceived results overly benefit either customers or the organization. The same is true when a collaboration project on internal processes, policies, or procedures greatly favors one part of the organization over another or all others.
Interestingly, it is actually easier for siloed members of an organization to collaborate in times of major stress or in a crises situation. This is because internal barriers and silos come crashing down when an “all hands on deck” situation occurs. Sadly, people tend to go back to their old non-collaborative ways once the crises or urgency is over.
Unfortunately, the silo mentality and the various rewards and recognition systems in most organizations often prevent routine collaboration between team members and peers from happening. Very few organizations rank their team members on their ability to collaborate (despite this being a critical success skill). Likewise, few individual performance goals used in annual performance reviews are based on collaborative results or outcomes.
When such systemic hurdles are in place, it is up to leaders (at all levels) to pro-actively engage in collaboration for the good of their teams, the organization as a whole, or even themselves. Doing so is the hallmark of a great leader, even when the results may not directly impact promotion and bonuses. Doing so will, however, impact results and how the leader is perceived by team members, direct reports, and peers.
This is why great leaders hold themselves, and others, accountable for ensuring collaboration across the organization. Great leaders, at any level of an organization, know that collaboration between individuals, departments, work groups, colleagues, outside contractors, and even between peer-level leaders, is essential in today’s world.
This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.