In today's dynamic business landscape, cross-functional teams play a crucial role in achieving organizational success. These teams consist of individuals from diverse departments and disciplines, working together to solve complex problems and drive innovation.

However, the effectiveness of cross-functional teams heavily depends on the quality of leadership guiding them. To find out how poor leadership can impact cross functional teams in this article, we speak to Khushman Hans, a leading expert in the field of operations management, who has led cross-functional teams and spearheaded numerous strategic projects for multiple business units, resulting in quality improvements and bottom-line profitability.

Khushman Hans
Khushman Hans Khushman Hans

His work experience spans multiple industries, including e-commerce, technology, and banking. At Chewy, he is the Senior Director of Operations provides leadership to thousands of exempt and non exempt employees across 10 fulfillment centers, to deliver on operational execution and deliver delightful customer experience. Through his professional journey, Khushman has launched and turned around multiple businesses/business units. Also, as a champion of continuous improvement, he has been instrumental in driving multi million dollar savings through process improvements during his different assignments.

Khushman speaks about several factors that can be detrimental to how a cross functional team performs however before that it is important to understand cross functional teams and the role of leadership in cross functional teams. "Cross-functional teams bring together professionals from different functional areas, such as marketing, finance, operations, and engineering, to collaborate on projects or initiatives. By combining diverse skill sets, knowledge, and perspectives, these teams offer a holistic approach to problem-solving, promoting innovation and efficiency. Their multidisciplinary nature enables them to tackle complex challenges that traditional siloed teams may struggle with," explains Khushman.

Therefore,effective leadership is vital for cross-functional teams to thrive." Leaders in these teams must possess a unique set of skills and qualities to navigate the complexities of diverse backgrounds, opinions, and objectives. They must foster a collaborative environment, facilitate communication, and align team members towards a common goal," says Khushman, who has held various managerial positions at Amazon Fulfilment Services, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he was responsible for outbound shift operations in a 700,000-square-foot facility, fulfilling products across 16 fulfilment centers in the US. He has also worked as an area manager at the same facility, leading and managing the performance of 150 hourly associates across three different functions.

How Poor Leadership Affects Cross-Functional Teams

When leadership falls short in cross-functional teams, the consequences can be detrimental to team performance. Poor leadership leads to a breakdown in communication, resulting in misunderstandings, conflicts, and decreased productivity. Without clear direction and guidance, team members may struggle to understand their roles and responsibilities, leading to confusion and inefficiency. Moreover, conflicting priorities and goals due to inadequate leadership can hinder progress and create a sense of frustration within the team.

Transforming Cross-Functional Teams with Strong Leadership

To harness the full potential of cross-functional teams, organizations must invest in developing strong leaders. Effective leaders in cross-functional settings possess excellent communication skills, the ability to build relationships, and the capacity to resolve conflicts. They establish an environment of trust and openness, where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and collaborating effectively. Implementing communication strategies, fostering collaboration, and encouraging accountability are essential elements for transforming cross-functional teams.

Benefits of Effective Leadership in Cross-Functional Teams

When cross-functional teams are guided by effective leaders, remarkable outcomes can be achieved. These leaders promote a culture of transparency and trust, leading to improved decision-making and problem-solving. By encouraging diverse perspectives, they unlock innovation and creativity within the team. Strong leaders also nurture team members' growth and development, fostering higher satisfaction and productivity.


In conclusion, poor leadership can severely hinder the performance and potential of cross-functional teams. In contrast, effective leadership unlocks the remarkable power of collaboration, enabling cross-functional teams to achieve extraordinary results. Organizations must recognize the crucial role leadership plays in shaping team dynamics and invest in developing strong leaders. By doing so, they can create an environment where cross-functional teams thrive, driving innovation, productivity, and success.