Effective Cross Functional, Multi-Discipline Leadership will Power Performance



Effective cross functional, multi-discipline leadership is the ability to effectively influence others across diverse functions in the organisation.


Competitive advantages flow from harnessing complex lateral interdependencies particularly in the areas of:


·        Executing strategy


·        Sharing the meaning of the mission


·        Ensuring values are understood and applied.


Leading across the organisation is more complex than vertical leadership. As a result managers must be lateral thinkers – unorthodox thinking to solve problems. This is critical for implementing strategy and leading complex change. 



Case Study – Leadership Development Program for a Non-Government Not-For-Profit Organisation


Key Challenge


This is a complex people intensive organisation in the disability sector. The key challenge is to cost effectively deliver multiple, diverse services. This requires effective leadership of diverse, interdependent complex functions across the organisation and within key service delivery groups. As a result effective middle management leadership is critical to achieving objectives. Recognition of this resulted in the Leadership Development Program (LDP) for middle managers.


The Task


The LDP involved 25 middle managers representing the full range of functions and service delivery programs. A key feature was 360º Leadership Feedback. Whilst ensuring confidentiality and ethical practice the program included:


Feedback:                  360º leadership assessments to identify strengths and areas for development. Individual feedback provided to the manager and their senior manager. Senior managers provided with an organisation overview of middle management Leadership strengths and areas for development.


Training:                    Two day Leadership development workshop including development of Leadership Development Plans


Coaching:                  Individual coaching for managers




Middle managers reported significant insights into their strengths, current leadership styles and areas for development. Their senior managers reported significant improvements in the effectiveness of their middle management team in dealing with the myriad of complex issues that inevitably arise when providing multi-discipline critical care to clients.


Middle managers are now alumni and provide leadership support to each other.


An effective strategy implementation culture at the middle management level now exists.





Lateral Leadership is critical for powerful execution of strategy and performance. Chief Executive Officers cannot neglect this factor and must continually review and enhance cross functional, multi-discipline leadership processes.



Dallas Burgess

Email: dallasb@peopleadvantage.com.au


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