Create High Performance Teams For Better Results
If you are in a leadership role, you have probably spent a good amount of time trying to come up with ways to create a high performing team. A team is a collection of a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. (Katzenbach & Smith, 2003) Leaders focus on stronger performance, more innovation, and resolving conflicts. It is not an easy task to develop a high performance team but, when you do, the rewards are plentiful.
Most members of high performance teams state that it is quite fun and satisfying. They are able to contribute to their highest level, with much cooperation and little conflict. People within these teams have a deep trust in one another’s ability and have a strong understanding of the team’s purpose. Team members are encouraged to express their feelings and ideas, engage in extensive discussions, and disagree when appropriate. Thus, the team understands the goal to work towards the same objectives. Each individual on the team focuses on the same target.
When individuals are engaged in extensive conversations and everyone on the team is contributing, great things can come from such a group. Creativity flows and roadblocks are knocked down. High Performance Teams forbid mediocracy, while commitment level is extraordinary. Each member expects a lot from themselves and from each other.
The atmosphere is also equally important to the team’s success. It is necessary to expose High Performance Teams to safe and risk-free environments where selection of individual players is vital. Team spirit within these groups must be nurtured and protected. Disagreements are not discouraged and, in fact, tolerated. Managing conflict is essential. Getting the team out for social events can help break down barriers. People tend to see individuals in a different light outside of work and connect on different levels. Getting them out socially can have a large impact on team spirit.
Authors of The Wisdom of Teams, Jon Katzenchach and Douglas Smith, found through several studies of team work the following about High Performance Teams:
- A deeper sense of purpose.
- Relatively more ambitious performance goals compared to average teams.
- Better work approaches or complete approaches.
- Mutual accountability; acknowledgement of their joint accountability towards a common purpose in addition to individual obligations to their specific goals.
- Complimentary skill set and, at times, interchangeable skills.
An effective leader of a High Performance Team is not your traditional leader that is the ultimate decision maker. Rather, effective leaders of High Performance Teams are more facilitators and ensure the team has the proper tools, guidelines, and behavior to help produce the desired outcomes. Leaders within this environment must communicate timely, provide effective feedback, motivate, and hold team accountable. They are more process-oriented and rid of any barriers that prevent the team from being 100% immersed in the project. These leaders are also very good at dealing with the natural difference between individuals and managing group dynamics.
Once you put the time and energy into developing and leading a High Performance Team, the rewards are plentiful. Remove all distractions and worry so there are no barriers that will get in their way. Communicate often and at a high level. Lastly, make sure everyone understands the purpose.