Characterstics of High Performing Teams

Have you ever been part of a team where you got along with everyone, enjoyed the camaraderie, felt like you could rely on every one of your team member and that they could rely on you? If you have been part of such a team or are part of the team, how does it feel like to come to work every day? What is your and team’s productivity like? Does the office feel like a second home?

Now contrast this with a team that doesn’t trust each other. Everyone feels the need to look over their shoulder and all the communication is guarded? Have you ever been part of such a team? How did it feel to come to work every day? What was the productivity like?

Studies after studies have proven that the high performing / highly motivated teams are the ones where the team members can trust each other, can rely and count on each other and feel comfortable enough to let their guards down and are genuinely driven by the desire to succeed as a team.

Yet, in most organizations you will find the teams that barely go by thru the day. There is a feeling of despair and if you speak to team members one on one, they will tell you that they are the only one carrying the weight and work while rest everyone is simply slacking off. The team members dread coming to work and hardly discuss their own personal lives / interests with each other and let their guards down.

As a leader, how do you take your team to the next level and turn them into high performing team where work doesn’t feel like work but rather a mission to accomplish great things?

Below is a list of few things that you as a leader can implement to put your teams on a path to greatness.

Not Afraid to Fail

Develop an environment and culture where the team members aren’t afraid of failing. Tell them it is ok to try out and fail. The key is to learn from the failure and don’t repeat the same mistake. The teams that are afraid to fail will never venture out of their comfort zone and will never achieve the results that are the hallmarks of high functioning teams.

Develop a sense of belonging

Allow your team to develop a sense of belonging and a culture of trust and friendship. Let them make their own decisions. Make them feel that they have a say in their own matters. Let them argue and bicker with each other if necessary but ensure they do it without losing respect for each other. Great way to achieve this is planned and unplanned activities such as outdoor team building exercises or brain-storming sessions.

Develop a Culture of Openness, Honesty and Trust

Develop a culture where team members are motivated to give their best. Not out of fear, but out of their desire to be the best. If someone isn’t performing, let the team call them out and let the team discuss with the non-performing member. You should step in only as a last resort.

Don’t force them into 9-5 work environment but make it clear that they and their team will be judged based on their work and not necessarily what time they came to office and when they left.

Develop Cross Functioning Teams

While it is normal and preferable to have team members who are specialist in a specific task, encourage cross training and a culture where they can help each other out even when it is not their area of expertise.

At the end of the day the kind of team you have will depend very much on your own management skills and your own desire to develop a highly efficient, self-driven team or a team which is always looking for directions and can’t function without you as a referee.

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