Servant Leadership Mastery – 08 COLLABORATION

Table of Contents

Servant Leadership Mastery

Strategies, Stories, and Stimulus for Leading with Respect Along with Results

Chapter 8.

What Do Team Members Want from Their Leader?


Jack has just been hired by a multinational firm. He begins by implementing what he has learned from his marketing expertise in his new role as head of the product marketing department. At first, he shared his functional expertise with his team and joined frequently the internal gatherings building a very collaborative team atmosphere. Over time, he also implemented a past experience of not putting much effort into meetings with other departments as his perspective was that it would rob his team’s attention and time on the marketing roles they held. After a while, though, he began to receive pressure from other department leaders that things are not working in alignment, nevertheless, he chose to ignore his peers and asked his team to continue to focus on their creativity and current projects.

The marketing department had come up with great ideas, but they were not aligned with the timing and product specifications for the launch of the next generation of product series as the described copy of the features was not in line and would cause confusion for the customers.

Since product marketing was connecting the dots, for sales, product information, and the customer, not getting the clarity and approval from product design and the appropriately aligned copy from product marketing would stop sales from meeting their targets, resulting in a loss of sales.

In addition, employees were also feeling isolated and demotivated. They felt that they were working in a vacuum without any sense of the bigger picture. This led to a lack of innovation and creativity, and ultimately, a decrease in productivity and efficiency.

As time went on, the negative impacts of the siloed approach became viral and increasingly clear. The employees started to voice their concerns to Jack and his leader, the VP of global marketing, but they were reluctant to change the approach. Eventually, the company began to lose clients and some employees resigned.

Silos refers to isolated functional units or departments within an organization operating independently of one another, often resulting in a lack of communication and collaboration between different teams, especially, when their functional outcomes are purposefully geared to similar outcomes, for example, going to market departments such as product design and development, marketing, sales, etc. serve a common purpose which is to get a product or service ready for the customers. Some of the dangers of silo working include:

  • Reduced Efficiency – It can lead to duplication of effort, which wastes resources.
  • Decreased Innovation – Stifling innovation and creativity, as teams are not exposed to different perspectives and ideas from other departments and are not aware of how issues and opportunities are interlinked for decision-making.
  • Poor Communication – Resulting in fractured communication between teams which can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.
  • Lack of Accountability – Blaming each other for mistakes or failures instead of working together to solve a common problem or aim.
  • Missed Opportunities – Loss chances of to work on projects or initiatives that could benefit the organization as a whole.

The impact of silo working is generally negative affecting employees’ morale, productivity, and job satisfaction, as well as the performance of the organization.

Bottom of Form

TIP: Cross-functional or interdisciplinary collaboration creates a work culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas and perspectives with their colleagues, regardless of their department and functional area. It helps to promote openness and transparency and people feel empowered to contribute to the success of the organization. A caution is to manage the number of meetings and time spent on meetings with proper scheduling, and agendas, and invite only those that contribute to action so that no large crowds feel obliged to show up and most can get the work done efficiently.

Cross-functional teaming often is used to tackle complex initiatives, as they bring together people with diverse skills and expertise to solve problems and make decisions. Teams such as this can leverage their collective strengths and achieve better outcomes than they would be able to on their own.

Overall, the culture of COLLABORATION fosters a more positive and productive work environment, where employees are more engaged, motivated, and satisfied with their work and each other.


Dr. Maria Pressentin is a Servant Leadership Strategist, a multi-award-winning behavioral scientist, and a leadership development professional, Maria helps people shift their mindset and apply serving-leader skills to their daily interactions. Her work involves incorporating competencies of servant leadership in organizational functional and strategic roles to build long-term vitality in businesses. Her latest book is titled “Key Factors and Use Cases of Servant Leadership Driving Organizational Performance”, IGI Global, 2021.

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