How to Develop and Sustain a High Performance Team
High performance teams are ones that we all strive to create or become a part of. Why is this? The great appeal of such teams lays beyond their ability to consistently achieve results. In most cases of high performance teams, there is a strong willingness for individuals to go above and beyond in their efforts to contribute to the success of the team. They are motivated to perform at their best because there is an understanding of the inherent value of each person’s role. As a team, they are focused on a common goal and support each other to achieve it. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at some of the factors that make high performance teams possible, and why you should consider incorporating them into your development.
Keep Size in Mind
If you’ve ever tried to speak up in a large group, you understand how difficult it can be to have your voice heard. For this reason, it is important when building high performance teams not to oversaturate them with too many people. However, you must not sacrifice skilled team members for the sake of keeping numbers low. Instead, consider the logistics of coordinating teams and communicating effectively among a larger group. Teams with fewer than 10 members provide a more manageable balance that allows for each voice to be heard. This leads to quicker (and better) decision making as well as greater productivity.
For teams to sustain high performance, they most often are led by those who are able to inspire motivation and enthusiasm. These are not the kinds of leaders who simply assign the work and expect it to meet high standards. Rather, inspiring leaders encourage passion from their team that creates a level of dedication that will naturally produce excellence. When we feel that our work has value and that it is important to us, we are more driven to make it the very best that we can. When building high performance teams, consider whether the person calling the shots is capable of this. Not just as a leader, but also when facilitating the volume of each individual member. Remember, the best leaders support and bring out the best in their people, and provide a safe place for people to speak up and have equal say is an important part of this.
A team that is given a clear direction is predisposed to high performance. This is of course not limited to assigning tasks at the beginning of a project. Great communication should be rooted in giving and receiving feedback and regular check-ins with individuals that foster strong relationships. The adage “clear is kind…unclear is unkind” is a significant focal point of the Dare to Lead Program that encourages leaders to communicate effectively without being misconstrued or coming across as rude. High performance team leaders keep people focused, informed and on-track. They encourage people to voice their thoughts, and to do so in an honest, clear and deliberate way. After all, there is a real efficiency in clear communication that helps a team get to where they want to in a shorter time, whilst not unnecessarily wasting energy in the process.
To sustain high performance over the long term, your team must be able to quickly adapt to sudden changes. The advantage of adaptability means that there is no stagnation in work processes. The team can identify potential problems early and adapt their processes to overcome these challenges. Adaptable teams can find multiple solutions to every problem, giving you options for each new project. This means that there will always be other ideas to implement if the occasion calls for it. With adaptability also comes the mindset of a champion team, and that is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination!
Trust in Leadership
Finally, the mainstay of each of the qualities discussed above is trust. Specifically, trust in leadership. A leader that is not trusted cannot be inspiring, will be doubted, and won’t be looked to when guidance is needed. Building and maintaining trust within teams should be a top priority. This is something that we cover extensively throughout our Dare to Lead Program and other leadership development and high performance team programs. Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships, both personal and professional. Leaders who encourage openness and honesty in their teams, must exemplify these qualities themselves. This kind of transparency in leadership shows that you have nothing to hide and builds your team’s trust in you. Trust is also the one element that cannot be falsely manufactured, and that is what makes it so powerful, because when it comes to leadership, people are motivated most by the authentic you, the vulnerable leader who deals with issues with integrity and courage, and helps others to do the same.
When working with organisations to develop their leadership talent, The Leadership Sphere helps to make strategic intent clear for leaders and the people they support, develop capability in leaders to better connect people to the strategy, and enable leaders to contribute in a way that unlocks performance and helps others be the best they can be. To build and sustain high performance teams, you need to keep these factors in mind. As previously discussed, clarity is the key to open communication and vision. Capability is needed in every member, and each member must be able to contribute effectively when challenges arise. The most important contribution of the leader is to invoke trust and motivation within their teams to reach their highest potential.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.