Have you ever been part of a high-performing team, where everyone worked together towards a shared set of goals, where everyone knew their role, and there was plenty of mutual respect, cooperation and collaboration? Do you remember looking forward to going into work every day?
Or have you been on the other end of spectrum, working on the team from hell, that was plagued by mistrust and conflict, and where you counted down the days until you could escape on annual leave?
Most people will have experienced both, because the truth is, as a business owner or manager, you can never really know how well (or not) people will work together until you have to build a team, and it’s often a case of trial and error.
So what is a high performing team?
High-performing, effective teams share some characteristics:
They work towards shared goals
High-performing teams are unified by clearly defined, shared goals which resonate with the values of each team member.
They are diverse
The best teams are made up of people from different backgrounds with varied skill sets and personalities. Diversity offers more potential for creativity and innovation, as well as a wider talent pool to recruit from.
They are smaller and more flexible
Smaller teams have better change agility generally than larger teams.
Everyone understands their roles and responsibilities
Individual roles are clearly defined as are responsibilities and who has the authority for what.
How do you create a high-performing team?
So keeping in mind what a high-performing team looks like, how do you create one? Well a good place to start is by creating a working environment and culture where employees feel a sense of team spirit, and of being appreciated, respected, and valued. Here’s how:
- Make employees feel they can be open and contribute their ideas without fear of being dismissed or ridiculed.
- Create a workplace where people are inspired and understand how their role fits into the bigger picture. This creates a sense of belonging, and of contributing to something bigger than themselves.
- Keeping the last point in mind, once you’ve created a sense of togetherness and of being a team, it’s important when you’re recruiting new employees, to make sure that their attitude and values are a good fit for the team. If it’s not, this could spell trouble.
- Recognise when employees have performed well, and specify exactly what you were pleased with. Employees will perform better if they know that their hard work is appreciated.
- Always measure progress towards goals. If employees are continuously working hard with no obvious end goal or outcome, they’ll soon lose motivation. High-performing teams constantly measure and evaluate progress and outcomes. This is how they constantly improve.
- Be prepared to coach or mentor people so they reach their full potential. Maybe your team is full of great employees, except one, who could be brilliant, but for some reason or another, never quite manages to stretch themselves that little bit more. Maybe all they need is some coaching and encouragement to reach their full potential. They will benefit, and so will the business.
The benefits of high-performing teams
If you have worked on a high-performing team, or you manage one, you’ll know the buzz you get from it. The mutual respect.
The benefits for employees
Employees who work on high-performing teams are more motivated and engaged, and there’s no feelings of being disheartened because they’re carrying people who aren’t pulling their weight. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and this allows them to just enjoy their jobs, which is half the battle in any career.
The benefits for business owners and managers
High-performing teams are a lot more independent and they don’t need you to constantly spoon- feed them information or deal with problems. They’re also a lot happier and more engaged at work, so you’ll find that you’re not having to deal with conflict and performance issues very often at all.
What about remote teams?
This year, countless managers have had to manage remote teams. Remote teams can be high-performing teams, but there are obvious obstacles that need to be navigated, such as how to keep communication clear and flowing and keeping people engaged, productive, and on track.
You can steer your team towards high-performance when they are working remotely by:
- Setting clear goals, targets and deadlines so everyone is on the same page. If you don’t already, using task/project management software like Trello or Sharepoint can really help with this.
- Checking in with them regularly. Have regular team meetings and 1:1 catch-ups with individual team members where you don’t just talk about work. Ask how they are doing and whether there’s anything they need your support with. When people feel appreciated and cared about, they perform better.
- Remembering to give praise and feedback. This might be done regularly in the context of the usual office environment, but when everyone’s working from home and has their head down, plodding on, it can be easy to forget to thank your team members for a job well done, especially in these hard times. Saying thank you goes a long way to boost morale and entice people to work hard for you.
Do you need help with business or employee issues?
I help Business Owners and Managers just like you to feel confident in their team and content with the way their business and team runs every day. My goal is to create a less frazzled life for you by offering you and your team mentoring, expert support, and workshops tailored completely to your needs.
Contact me to find out how I can help you.