What if you could take an outside look at high-performing teams and cherry-pick the qualities that you appreciate the most and start embedding them into your own team?

Fortunately, that’s what we are hoping to achieve in this article. We’ll be outlining those traits and skills that are most valuable to high-performing teams, and discuss what you can do to kick start them in your organization.

It might not be easy, but the reward is worth it.

Defining a Vision and Executing Steps

Every high-performing team starts by working together to define a vision of success, laying out the metrics, and agreeing on what the necessary qualifiers of achievement are. Once this is assured, they must build a strategy on how to get there, using the knowledge and expertise of those in the team, or working based on existing successful models. Regardless of the ‘hows’ of strategy, one thing is consistent in any high-performing team: communication.

To get your team to define a vision, build the strategy, and collectively work together to achieve it, you must:

  • Ensure that team members can communicate freely, voice opinions, and aren’t scared to get creative
  • Dedicate time and space to team communications and not just hope that one-on-one interactions will spread the message
  • Be consistent in your approach to success indicators and keep aspirations realistic and manageable
  • Establish time frames, predict any possible hurdles or obstacles, and keep corporate values in check

Building Enthusiasm and Commitment Towards a Common Goal

All great teams work well because they have clarity and communication. But they also have something else: a shared sense of purpose. That purpose could be anything from improving the environment, business growth, recognition and legacy, or improved contracts. However, this shared sense of purpose is not innate. It has to be developed, and a lot of managers fail by not creating a collective or unified identity within their teams.

Related Article: 5 Tips For Setting Goals

To get workers performing well, the team leader has to work hard to articulate the concept of a better future, the exciting prospects on the horizon, and the potential emotional or personal rewards of success. Companies who only inspire their teams through financial incentive or fear of punishment quickly realize that no bonus will ever be enough for talented individuals who are hungry for progress.

Learn to Create Solutions, Not Problems

Some people love to create problems, and surely as you read this, someone comes to mind. But thankfully, there are some people who love to create solutions. There’s also a third group of people who deny problems so that they don’t need to create solutions – these are the ‘We’ve always done it this way!’ folks.

What you want in your high-performing team is a group of people who love to solve problems because they accept that problems will arise and need to be dealt with in a progressive way.

A high-performing team doesn’t deliver a problem as a hopeless disaster, but rather as an opportunity to take the obstacle and mold it into a chance to make things better and more efficient. Someone who finds more flaws than opportunities will quickly be seen as a weak link in their team.

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Your job as a leader is to embed creative solution-making, which means you need a team dynamic that allows people to speak freely and make suggestions. Collaboration is key. For people to suggest quality solutions, they need a good understanding of what everybody’s role is and how they can support each other.

Encourage Accountability at All Levels

The blame game never works. Who likes fingers being pointed and accusations being made? So it’s vital that you work with your team to encourage accountability, allowing people to take ownership of their decisions and their consequences. Making mistakes is OK. Hiding mistakes is bad. Blaming others for your mistakes is really bad.

So here’s how to get to work on developing a sense of accountability on your soon-to-be high-performing team:

  1. Be transparent about the expectations of the company during the hiring process so that there are few surprises
  2. Establish a system for providing constructive performance reviews
  3. Build a culture that empowers staff and develops trust
  4. Articulate the reward and consequence structure
  5. Ensure that communication is at a high level, regardless of the activity
  6. Define team values and objectives, and make sure these are reminded regularly and are upheld

Team Dynamics and Conflict Management

When building a team of high-performers, it may seem intuitive to hire the most qualified and experienced people for the roles. But this isn’t always the case. Some professionals may have built a strong portfolio by being ruthlessly independent to progress their own careers, but their abilities are in short supply when it comes to teamwork.

So when it comes to building your dream team, it pays to find people who believe in the benefits of synergy, communication, and a concept of rising and falling as a collective. Individuals who think they are better than the team will struggle to fit in.

Learn to Balance Priorities

Working away on something that doesn’t bring results is a waste of time, right? So it’s key for managers to instill concepts of priority management into their teams. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Principle, is one such example. It states that 80% of results come from just 20% of the work. It can be difficult for leaders to develop this skill within teams. But by communicating in a group environment and developing an inverted pyramid of tasks based on perceived task importance, it can be achieved.

Start Now to Make Progress Tomorrow

High-performing teams often work because they’ve been consistently hammering out the creases for a long time. They’ve refined their processes, found the mistakes, and worked together to streamline their activities.

If you want the same for your team, you need to start making changes today, because implementing these ideas won’t achieve overnight success. In fact, they could yield negative results if there is kickback or friction. Persevere, however, and you can multiply results in the long run!

How Can Leaders Create High-performing Teams?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Gyzel Pialat
Gyzel Pialat is a blended learning consultant at StratX ExL.
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