4 Collaboration Killers and the Role Leaders Play

4 Collaboration Killers and the Role Leaders Play

David Liddell
March 30, 2021

Leaders are perpetually working toward building strong teams and fostering collaboration between teams.

Leaders work hard to ensure that their teams are communicating clearly with one another and working together to bring the best value for the customer. What leaders don’t always recognize is that they may be guilty of killing their own efforts.

There are a several mistakes that leaders commonly make that actually stifle collaboration growth. Do you see yourself in any of these?

Rewarding the Individual

Of course independent thought and unique talents and skills are essential to company innovation and growth. One of the key traits of a highly functioning team is that individuals feel as if their voice and ideas are heard and valued. Why is it so common then, for leaders to reward individual performers? Certainly there are those players who rise to the top, but rewarding a team, pairing, or grouping for their collective work will foster added team collaboration.

Not Collaborating at the Top

We repeat this message all the time, leaders are the example. Senior management that is filled with individuals repeatedly tooting their own horns or at odds with one another will find divisiveness showing up all the way on down the ranks. When leadership teams regularly collaborate, show how working together benefits the company as a whole, and engage in healthy debate, they will foster a culture that reflects it.


“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of the individual is the team.”

-Phil Jackson


Not Actually Listening

All leaders are guilty of it from time to time – receiving information on an idea or a suggestion, but not listening attentively. Leaders are busy. Sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and background work goes into decision making that isn’t always public knowledge… All true, but not hearing the input from people throughout your organization can limit your perspective, and making a habit of it is a quick way to end open dialogue.

Bad Hiring Decisions

Even before the limitations of social distancing and increased video meetings, finding the right fit for a specific role within your organization was a challenge. Gut instinct is regularly used to identify the right candidate – but hiring is expensive in more ways than one. The wrong fit can easily throw off the collaborative communication among and between teams. Gut instinct is inconsistent and it’s easy to mistake a candidate’s good sales pitch for chemistry. Better to methodically and objectively evaluate candidates to avoid disruptions to your company dynamic.

Building a company culture of collaboration takes work and maintenance, and can easily be set back. Being aware of the impact your behavior as a leader has on collaboration within your organization can help you avoid common mistakes.

A firm believer that leadership doesn’t have to be complicated, David provides clarity to chaos, unlocking the full potential in organizations. Driven by results and achievement, he guides leaders to realize their purpose and align to the organization’s vision. He helps organizations navigate through today’s business challenges by anchoring leaders in fundamental leadership principles; creating an unstoppable culture of success.

Be sure to catch David’s breakout session on Employee Engagement Through a Leadership Lens on Wednesday, April 21st at NYC SHRM’s Annual Conference, Navigating Next. 

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