4 Steps to combat siloed thinking in the workplace

by Kayla Crum on Jan 25, 2024

Building blocks

In today’s increasingly global workplace, there are endless ways to communicate across the hall or across an ocean. Despite this, a culture of siloed thinking can easily emerge when teams don’t gather in person or don’t interface regularly with other teams at the same company.


Siloed thinking can lead to lower employee morale, dissatisfied customers, and ultimately less profit and productivity. If you’re a leader, is there anything you can do to combat the perils of siloed thinking?


Consider these four steps:

1 – Assess the current level of siloed thinking

It’s important to get an idea of how much siloed thinking your team currently engages in. As a leader, you should compare goals and strategies with other leaders at your company and see how much vision alignment exists among teams.


In addition to big picture ideas, consider your organizational structure. Do you have cross-departmental collaboration meetings built into your regular workflow? Are there opportunities for employees at every level to learn from and innovate with members of other teams?

2 -Eliminate siloed thinking at the top

Once you’ve identified the outlines of the culture problem, it’s time to look inward. Any changes you hope to implement for your teams have to come from the top or they’re likely to fail.


According to the Harvard Business Review, the skills a leader needs to work across teams are different from those used to lead their own team. Traditional leadership is “vertical” – a manager or VP is at the top, and they lead those directly under them. In contrast, dynamic interdepartmental leadership requires “lateral agility.”


Some key traits that laterally agile leaders share are humility, openness to new ideas, curiosity, and prioritization of relationships and trust.

3 – Gather input on siloed thinking from everyone

Keeping those traits in mind, the next step is to gather feedback from all levels of your organization. You’ve compared notes with other leaders and turned inward to root out any siloed thinking at the top. But what does your team have to say about their lived experiences within a culture of siloed thinking?


Become a learner at your own organization, whether you’re a mid-level manager or CEO. If the goal is innovation and collaboration among teams, you have to hear from the teams themselves. Consider working with HR on a formal survey, or conduct focus groups with participants from a cross-section of teams at your company.

4 – Build a framework for ongoing feedback

With all of this data, you’re prepared to enact real changes at your organization. Incorporate feedback from both leadership and team members into a concrete action plan. Some ideas include building cross-department gatherings into regular meeting rhythms and scheduling time for leaders to discuss the upcoming quarter’s vision.


It’s also vital to build in opportunities for ongoing feedback. Consider investing in collaboration software to synthesize feedback across teams, or set up regular times to celebrate interdepartmental successes and measure growth.


It can be difficult to sustain a new initiative over the long haul. If you’re ready to put in the work to root out siloed thinking from your organization, you want to make sure that your efforts don’t go to waste. That’s where Teamalytics comes in.

Teamalytics is here to help

At Teamalytics, we’ve worked with leaders and their teams for over three decades. We understand the challenges leaders face every day and the way team dynamics can alter the outcomes of a company.


That’s why we’ve created a scientifically validated team assessment tool. With over a million algorithmic results, our tool allows leaders and their team members to honestly assess both themselves and each other with candor and clarity.


But that’s just the beginning. We take it a step further and develop Traction Plans for each person and the team as a whole, building in opportunities to assess how change is going at an individual and group level.

If you want an effective way to help you eliminate siloed thinking at your organization, download our free guide “Know What it Feels like to Work with You” today to learn more about our proven assessment methods.