High-performing teams are the stuff that HR dreams are made of. If it's business results you want, having dynamic groups of engaged employees working in tandem to reach common goals is pretty much the holy grail.
Because great teams do great things.
Take the Seven Dwarves, the Hobbits from Lord of the Rings, or the Springbok team - whenever a group of fantasy creatures or humans are bound together by a common vision (whether it be securing free home-cleaning services from a gullible princess, stopping the evil reign of Sauron or bringing the Webb Ellis Cup trophy home where it belongs) they get things done.
That's the long and the short of it.
But what exactly makes a team high-performing? And what can you do as a business leader to drive your team to cohesive excellence?
Well, it starts with:
- Understanding high-performance teams, and
- Creating the space for these teams to develop.
1. Understanding high-performance teams & the ties that bind:
There are many different kinds of teams out there, but when you boil down the overall dynamics to the basics, certain commonalities emerge. Here are a few things great teams have in common:
They know what they are aiming for
A group of people can only achieve outstanding results when they are clear on their shared vision and mission. Tight teams know what they are aiming for, and keep recalibrating their course of action when they realise that they are not reaching their goals.
They communicate openly
Team dynamics remain positive and performance goals are met in situations where communication is clear and open. When team members are free to share and exchange information and have the luxury of being completely transparent in their dealings, performance improves automatically.
They trust one another
When team members feel that they can trust one another, a strong sense of cohesion develops. In an environment where everyone is free to thrive and the ability to progress in your role does not hinge on a dog-eat-dog mentality, it becomes that much easier to pool mental and physical resources and work together. In healthy environments like these, it is easy to build trust and resolve conflicts.
They are all about that problem-solving life
Members of the high-performing teams are great at resolving complicated issues and implementing vital process-driven and initiative-driven decisions successfully together as a group.
They grab opportunities for growth and development
The best teams are made up of individuals who are continually seeking to grow and develop within their roles, and grab any opportunity that presents itself to do so. Peer-to-peer mentoring, skills sharing, e-courses, self-study, conferences, symposiums - you name it, they will be there with bells on.
2. How to pave the way for the development of high-performance teams
The effect of team building on performance has been the subject of countless studies over the years. Here are a few tried and tested ways to pave the way for the development of strong bonds and aligned visions within the core teams at your company:
Focus on pulling over pushing
Strive to inspire rather than to instruct. Know how to create energy and enthusiasm in your team.
Set stretch goals
Create opportunities for your employees to challenge themselves and move beyond their comfort zones so they can take pride in their accomplishments.
Recognise and reward
Recognise the efforts of each team member and reward it in a tangible way when the results they achieve are inline with your company’s vision and mission.
Lead with empathetic strength
Leaders are expected to have the tough conversations and keep everyone in line, but there are many ways to go about this, and some are more effective than others. If you want to drive the creation of high-performing teams, always lead with empathy and treat your employees as individuals. When your team members feel seen they are far more likely to bring their A-game and contribute to a winning culture.
Whatever your leadership style may be, always be sure to remain consistent in what you expect and how you enforce your authority.
There you have it - the secret to high-performing teams and how you can create a space for these dynamic powerhouses to develop at your place of business. Just to recap, members of high-performing teams are known to:
- Focus on the company's vision and mission
- Communicate effectively
- Place their trust in one another
- Solving problems on the fly
- Growing and developing continuously
And you can promote the development of these unicorn incubators at your business by:
- Inspiring more than you drive
- Encouraging employees to challenge themselves
- Recognising hard work in a tangible way
- Being a strong but fair leader
- Staying the course (even when the going gets tough)
Ready to go make some magic? Have at it!
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