It goes without saying that every leader wants to have a high-performing team, but what is a high-performing team? KeyAmongst the key features include having a clear and commonly-aligned purpose, defined characteristics and roles within the team, effective communication, and engaging in constructive conflict.
What is a high performing team?
When looking at improving team performance and cohesion, we must consider many factors, including tried-and-tested models, the overall team culture, and how these high-performance teams are built in the first place. Below, we will explore the fundamental values of an efficient team to provide guidance to any team that wishes to increase their overall performance.
Having the same common goal
As explored in the high performing teams model of Patrick Lencioni, one of the core fundamentals of a high-yield team is that all members adhere to the same common goals. Although it can sometimes feel tempting to rely on compromise, this can actually be counterproductive, as it does not always lead to the best business decisions. When each and every team member is on board with the goals and ambitions of the company, we see an increased focus and greater progress.
Clearly-defined roles and responsibilities
One of the key features of a high-performance team is efficiency. It is important for tasks to be allocated and delegated as appropriate. Not only does this optimise everyone’s time, but it also gives each and every team member a clear sense of purpose.
This also allows for accountability, where everyone takes responsibility for their own individual tasks. By avoiding any confusion or ambiguities, tasks are completed more reliably, thus improving progress towards the team’s common goals.
A culture of open communication
A high-performance team culture thrives on open communication. Team members should not fear speaking out and making their own suggestions. When team members do not live in fear of judgement or repercussions as a result of their choice to speak out, a continuous discourse of new ideas is encouraged, thus benefiting the business by broadening their perspective. Team members all bring different experiences and opinions to the table, so it is important to consider this and see it as a positive asset, instead of seeing it as a potential threat.
Embracing, and not fearing, constructive conflict
Following on from the previous point, a high-performance team does not fear conflict, and instead sees it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Although it is important to distinguish between positive and negative conflict, high-achievers are never afraid to speak up when they do not agree on something. This brings up new and improved ideas, which can benefit the team’s progress massively.
Managing deadlines based on priorities
A good team leader will be aware and have a realistic view of what their team is capable of at any given time. They realise that ambitions must be realistic and attainable and that creating impossible goals and deadlines is not always as motivational as it sounds. Instead, they effectively prioritise the team’s tasks based on urgency and importance. This ensures that all members are focused on the work that drives the most progress at that particular time, thus keeping the team focused on their mutual goals.
Learning from their mistakes
It is virtually impossible to find a high-performance team that has never made mistakes. However, what separates high-achieving teams from the rest is how they deal with them. While it may seem like second nature to dwell on these mishaps and feel discouraged, in a high-performance team culture, mistakes are important lessons that encourage growth and development. Effectively, mistakes act as motivation for improvement. An efficient team will encourage discussions about why these slip ups may have happened and how they can be avoided in the future, without focusing on blaming individuals or punishing those involved.
The value of making team members feel appreciated cannot be underestimated. When a team reaches a goal, it is important that this success is celebrated. High-performance teams give and receive appreciation more frequently as they realise the impact of a simple ‘thank you’, and how it can make someone feel valued and motivated.
Show measures of team success
Whether this is through numbers, graphs, charts, testimonials, or other mediums… team members will feel more motivated when they are able to see the overall impact that their work has made. This can also act as a baseline for setting future (and even bigger) goals.
To help your employees foster high performance team culture, team leaders can use the points above to open up an honest discussion about optimising team performance. For example, the encouragement of regular review meetings can help a team develop a flowing dialogue of new ideas, or a review of responsibilities can lead to more effective time management and increased focus for all members.