A Leader’s Silos; The 4 Keys to Leading Through Silo-Functioning Departments at Work!

As a former Employee, Supervisor, and now Professional Speaker & Leadership Trainer it never ceases to amaze me how every department within an organization believes their department is the best, their work is the hardest, and their team is the most deserving in the company… Sound familiar? Now, take these same notions and these same feelings as shove them into one individual operating an entire department as a One-Person Show… That’s a Silo! By no means is this a knock on a Silo Leader; as it’s a BIG job, a lot to do ALL THE TIME, and all success or failure has nowhere to go, but onto you!

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to see, hear, and address concerns from those in silo positions. Some are overwhelmed and burning out. Others are new to the silo position; having to figure things out on the fly without a manual or feeling they need to create elbow room with little support as existing Silo Peers hoard necessary information or slack at their jobs. So, what to do to enhance your Leadership, protect your name, and enhance the organization?

Let’s get the obvious out of the way… when you’re the existing Employee operating as a Silo, be freak’in kind to the new person coming in. They didn’t know you prior to accepting the position, they didn’t know they were replacing a friend of yours, and that you were going to compare them to that person for the rest of their life. They simply accepted the job, hopefully have a passion for it, want to do a great job, and would benefit from your help or at least not your friction or inaction. Therefore, be sure to welcome them to the company, share necessary information, make yourself available and share the best ways they can reach you, and follow-through with your promised assistance and/or project collaboration duties. Remember, you’re all on the same team!

What to do when you’re the Newbie or perhaps have been at your organization for a while and dysfunction has set in due to organizational change or growth?

The Leader’s Blueprint!

As a Leader entering a Silo Position, it’s essential to be curious if your Leadership Peers are also in Silo Positions. Knowing your peers are also Silos will provide a clearer understanding of just how stretched everyone is and they don’t have a Team to help with the issue you called, texted, or emailed about… EVERYTHING is all on them! Therefore, connection becomes monumentally important! Especially in regards to Hybrid and Remote Work… Not only are you and other Silo Leaders busy; the new age style of work provides less chance to meet, bond, and connect to make your needs, favors, and requests a priority!

My point is, CONNECT, CONNECT, CONNECT! Be sure to reach out, introduce yourself, compliment their work, send that nice “Hello Email”, or request to connect on a Zoom to officially meet and speak! There will come a time when you have questions, need assistance, or may collaborate on projects, and this connection will matter!

Secondly, while meeting and greeting… share your Leader’s Blueprint and ask for theirs. For example, “Hi John, Happy Monday and I hope all is great! I just started with the company and I’m excited to get my feet wet and make an impact in ___(position/department)___. I wanted to say hello and it’d be great to connect on a Zoom to officially meet and chat for about 20 mins or so. I’m sure our paths will cross work-wise and I’d like to be of help when the time comes. If you ever need anything or have any questions, feel free to reach out. It’s best to email me, simply let me know what the issue is and your suggested solution; as it’ll make it easier for me to assist and get back to you in a timely manner. Is there a best way you prefer me to reach out to you when necessary? If a Virtual Call works for you, I’m available Monday at 1:00pm or Wednesday at 10:00am. Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from you, and have a great rest of your day!”. Feel free to use your own words; the point is the flow:

  1. Introduce yourself!
  2. Request Contact!
  3. Provide The Blueprint of the best way to reach you and the method to make it easiest and most productive for both you and them!
  4. Request their Blueprint… and utilize it when the time comes!
  5. Use a Leader’s 2-Dates… when offering a time to meet, be a Leader and offer times or provide a meeting link. You are asking a favor to meet; don’t let them do all the work to make it happen… Be Mindful!
  6. Thank them for their time! Bookending an email with positives may irritate “The Grouches” within your organization… but everything does… it may make others somewhat enjoy receiving your emails.

Vision & Vision Factors!

Being a Silo Leader is the closest thing to having your own business. Yes, you work for a company…  Yes, there’s an overall mission statement… Yes, I’m sure you have metrics to meet; however you’re pretty much running the show, running your day, and your own projects. Therefore, is imperative you know your Vision & Vision Factors!

After speaking at a Leadership Conference, a woman emailed me the next day to share she was having difficulty with her silo duties, obtaining necessary information from colleagues, and struggling to know what to say “Yes” and “No” to. Leadership isn’t easy, but knowing your Vision & Vision Factors… and that of your Silo leader Peers certainly makes it easier!

What’s your Vision for your Department and desired outcome? Perhaps your department will provide elite service county-wide in what you serve? In this example… what are the 3-5 things that when done consistently, the Vision MUST come true? These are your Vision Factors!

Once you know your Vision Factors and your Silo Peers come with questions, favors, or collaboration ideas, it’s easier to know what to say “Yes” and “No” to… and share why! Vice Versa, do you know the V & VF of your Leadership Peers; allowing you to operate in within their lane or just outside? Perhaps they’ve never even thought of such a Leadership Concept, and you can revel in an opportunity to teach them something new to enhance and organize their Leadership and inevitably the organization as a whole!

Trainer Request!

First, inquire about the organization’s training process to prepare you for the position. You’d be surprised how many Employees are plopped in a position, inadequately trained or not trained at all, ignored for months, then ripped apart in an annual review, and later scapegoated right out of a company. A sad truth, but a truth nonetheless!

Second, once you observe a withholding of necessary information or a lack of inclusiveness within Silo World; request a training or a protocol on the organization’s desired flow of information… what’s their policy or procedure? You may be surprised they have one and it not be applied or they don’t have one at all!

Lastly, once you’ve acclimated to the organization, your role, and understand how things work, get done, and can be done more efficiently… request to BECOME “The Trainer”!

Remember… requesting training; especially in email, works to protect you, educate you, and impacts the company in the short-term and on a small scale. Requesting to lead a training is the ultimate in educating everyone, upgrading systems and processes, and ensures everyone has a role. This allows more efficiency, but also will shine a light on weak links. Remember, your organization is only as strong as its weakest Leaders and Employees! A great company will address these individuals and upgrade processes… a toxic company won’t; either way you’ll have your answer of where you work and your next move to stay or leave! Lastly… YES, requesting to be the Trainer will be more work for you… however, when you’re stressed enough, at some point this will be the smartest choice!

Have Fun!

This sounds simple… and it is! However, with the amount of hybrid and remote work it’s become more difficult. The point is to schedule fun things to do with your Leadership Silo Peers. Perhaps you schedule a meet-up after work, a regular Happy Hour… I’ll never forget our Friday Happy Hours when I was an employee! Perhaps a quarterly get-together, a Bar-B-Que at your house… whatever you choose; remember fun can create connection with those you already enjoy and some you never thought you’d get along with. When you work remote, Leaders are spread worldwide and Happy-Hours aren’t in the cards… remember a random “Hello Email”, a “Thank You Email”, requesting a 1-on-1 every other month to stay on top of small details, etc. will go a long way.  At some point, connections will matter… Don’t be so busy being busy that you forget to be better!

You now know the 4 Keys to Leading Through Silo-Dysfunction… what was your Biggest Takeaway? Knowing something new, without applying that something new, can lead to nothing new… Be Mindful and Enjoy your Evolution!!!

“Requesting to lead a training is the ultimate in educating everyone, upgrading systems and processes, and ensures everyone has a role… Be Mindful!”

                            – Andre Young

Written by: Andre Young

Ready to enhance Leadership & Work/Life Harmony for your People and Organization with Andre Young’s Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings/Speaking Engagements? Click www.youevolvingnow.com to connect, chat, and customize!!!

Skip to content