Leadership in Cross-functional teams Versus Functional Teams

Leadership in Cross-functional teams Versus Functional Teams

Leadership in Cross-functional teams Versus Functional Teams. While leadership involves doing things right, it requires doing the right things. Leaders are visionaries who encourage their teams to take risks and pursue innovation. For an organization to achieve its goal, it is important to have effective leadership. Consequently, leadership improves communication and productivity, boosts motivation, and increases efficiency, thus creating a healthy working environment for employees. A great leader should have skills like problem-solving, decision-making, and communication. A skillful leader must also understand the environment and its operations. Functional teams and cross-functional teams have the same aim of achieving the organization’s objectives. However, they work differently; functional teams involve only one team, while cross-functional teams involve teams from different departments working together toward a common goal.

Leadership in a functional team enhances collaboration and the creation of ideas because fewer people are involved. Functional team leadership fosters better communication, whereby the team members understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In a cross-functional team, people from various departments join and work towards a common goal. Cross-functional leadership encourages diversity in the organization, thus creating innovation and ideas. Nonetheless, it involves managing more people from different teams, which can cause mistrust and miscommunication. Ton et al. (2022) argue that cross-functional teams can lead to poor cooperation and even create group competition. In response, Dagher writes that to manage cross-functional teams, it is vital to appoint a leader with overall responsibility over all projects. Also, the leader should be clear with the project expectations, which may boost their motivation. Conclusively, leadership in cross-functional teams is more difficult than in functional teams because there are more people to manage, which may cause miscommunication and unhealthy competition.


Both teams in the organization work towards a common goal; functional teams contain one major group, while cross-functional teams involve groups from different departments who join and work together to achieve the organization’s objective. Leadership in cross-functional teams enhances motivation and influences diverse skills and experiences. However, it causes a lot of mistrust and communication breakdowns. Also, crises may occur when team members compete for leadership. For cross-functional teams to collaborate, the leader must define roles for each member, which improves productivity, thus achieving the organization’s goals. Ultimately, while leadership in cross-functional teams is difficult, leaders should practice it and train their team members to boost engagement and collaboration. Encouraging cross-functional teams is essential as it allows the flow of creativity, improves performance, and helps develop leadership skills.










Dagher, K. (2020, November 11). Cross-functional collaboration: 4 challenges and effective solutions. Fellow,

Ton, A. D., Szabo-Szentgroti, G., & Hammerl, L. (2022). Competition within cross-functional teams: A structural equation model on knowledge hiding. Social Sciences, 11(1), 30.


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