In today’s rapidly developing business environment, the idea of what a high performance team looks like is also evolving. Increasingly, we are seeing more and more teams becoming dispersed geographically as the possibility of remote operations for organisations becomes commonplace. Building high performance teams can be difficult. For these teams it is more important to focus on how the individuals interact with one another in service of their goals, rather than the productivity of any one person. As the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, this focus becomes especially important during times of crisis and uncertainty.
Size is a significant factor in beginning to build your team. For high performance teams, a small number is needed to ensure focus and dedication. However, we must be careful not to make it too small, as the resulting lack of diversity can lead to poorer and slower decision making. Conversely, too large and ‘sub-groups’ form that can detract from the team’s objective by pursuing their own agenda instead. Bigger teams can also create ‘herd mentality’ amongst members, allowing the ownership of team decisions to be undermined.
When selecting individuals to be part of your high performance team, it is also important to consider what skills, experience, backgrounds, and attitudes each person brings forward. This is what we refer to when we talk about diversity within these teams. Too many similar ideas prevent growth and innovation. By drawing team members from a variety of positions and levels in the organisation, there is a greater opportunity for new ideas to arise.
Once the structure of your team has been determined, it is time to look at how the team performs together. Only after people begin to work together that the dynamics of the team reveal themselves. It is not enough to put the highest individual performers together and expect the team to thrive. Each person must understand how their work contributes to the greater goal or purpose, and how they both support, and are supported by the contributions of others.
High performance teams are defined by three key dimensions of high performance teamwork. The first is coherence in direction. This is the combined effort of the team to fully understand the goals of the company and the role they play in reaching them. The second is high-quality interaction. Trust is the leading factor in this area as it drives the open communication and ability to embrace conflict that makes these teams successful. Lastly is the cultivation of an environment that encourages innovation and a willingness to take risks.
High Performance Teams Training to Build Trust
Trust is the very foundation of all high performance teams. The support that members provide for one another stems from the understanding that they are all working to achieve a united goal. Therefore, when conflicts do arise or suggestions are made, individuals work collaboratively to come to a solution. High performance training programs that focus on developing strong levels of trust help to establish a greater sense of team for participants. During times of uncertainty, teams that are lacking in trust are more prone to argumentative behaviour and blaming, rather than problem solving. Teams that can come together in the face of crises make better decisions and succeed far beyond the time the challenges are overcome. Even teams that are already considered high performing can benefit from additional development programs. The presence of an external observer may help to identify unknown problem areas and coach them to incorporate tools for overcoming them.
By bringing together a new team of people, it will alter the structure and dynamics of their performance. To sustain a high performance team’s success during and beyond times of crisis, they must first build and develop a trusting relationship. Training programs that are specifically designed around your teams’ needs are an invaluable resource and certainly an investment worth making to ensure future success.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.