There have been times in everyone's career when they've been part of fantastic teams and on the contrary, terrible ones as well. The great teams will be remembered with fondness, as a period in one's career when you were most inspired, enthusiastic, and driven to come to work and develop with your organization. Teams where conflict is commonplace, where people are afraid to voice their opinion and are often overworked lead to demotivation, stress, and burnout. No one wants to be in a demotivating and depressing team. Everyone deserves to be encouraged and to be able to work in an environment that is thriving.
What is the secret to creating and nurturing a workplace that fosters high-performance teams? Is it all down to those in leadership? How does organizational culture affect the development of high-performance teams? Can HR impact their formation and longevity? In this article, we will explore these questions and the recipe for a high-performance team.
The Advantages of Building a High-Performance Team
There are two clear winners when it comes to building and working in a high-performance team, the employees themselves and the organization that employs them. This also includes those in leadership positions as well.
How Employees Benefit
When an employee is part of a high-performance team, they feed off their colleagues’ energy and their leader’s enthusiasm, soaking up the energy, focus, and drive through an osmosis-like process. They understand and work towards a common goal with their colleagues who work in sync with each other, complement each other’s abilities and skills, and receive recognition and rewards for their efforts.
When team members have a positive, symbiotic environment to work in, they are more productive, more efficient, and more adaptable to scenarios as they are presented.
With a high-performance team, organizations can benefit from:
- Happy clients who receive high-quality customer support
- Shared knowledge and skills across the company with flexible team members
- Employees that are engaged with company goals and outcomes
- Employees who are able and keen to innovate with open communication with each other.
These teams can tackle tasks that are crucial to company goals due to their ability to adapt, focus and engage. They are trusted by leaders to complete tasks, and in turn, trust their leadership to support them when required. Businesses will find that they are able to achieve sustainable high-level growth without fear of over-extending or underperforming.
Elements of High-Performance Teams
High-performance teams are distinguished by certain qualities that set them apart from typical team compositions. These qualities allow teams to thrive in high-pressure situations and complete successful projects despite chaotic work environments.
The qualities that distinguish high-performance teams are:
Communication between high-performance teams is direct and succinct. Team members unite with open channels of communication where there is no risk when asking questions, seeking assistance, or providing feedback. The same must be true in communication between team members as well as those outside of the team and its leadership.
High-performance teams have a shared vision for the future and work towards common goals to achieve success. Team members must be able to trust and rely on one another. This can only be accomplished through effective communication.
An important aspect of high-performance team communication is providing timely feedback. Feedback should be specific, objective, and actionable. It should also be given in a way that is respectful and constructive. Feedback should never be used as a tool to punish or belittle team members.
A high-performing team isn't established overnight; it takes a significant amount of work to create one. Leadership alone won’t form a successful team. However, an excellent leader can help to create the right environment for performance and productivity to flourish. To establish a top-performing team, leaders must go above and beyond the conventional.
Leaders of high-performing teams frequently operate as facilitators, allowing their teams to flourish without excessive supervision or specific goals in certain directions. Rather than drive and direct their staff, leaders of these teams inspire and encourage them by creating an enthusiastic, positive atmosphere.
Within the team itself, there will, at some point, be conflict. The leader’s role is to maturely and actively resolve the dispute rather than simply let it run its course. Conflict, left unchecked, can quickly become the end of a once high-performing team. The benefits of prompt and unbiased conflict resolution extend beyond simply ending the dispute. When a team is able to observe the leader setting the example for resolution through communication.
Finally, high-performance team leaders must be trusted to share their own knowledge and abilities, especially during times of stress or difficult challenges. Strong personal relationships between teams and their leaders must be maintained over time. The team has to trust their leader to have their best interests at heart and be an expert in their field.
Everyone on the team should be working towards the same, larger goal. It's not simply a job that needs doing; it's something everyone believes in and wants to accomplish. Teams with similar goals and vision are more effective, collaborate better as a group, and can express themselves without fear of judgment.
There should be a sense of ownership and pride in the team's accomplishments and everyone should feel like they're playing an important role in achieving the goal. If someone isn't bought into the vision or doesn't feel like their contribution is valued, it'll be hard for them to be a high-performing team member.
Respect Among All Members
Respect is vital within a high-performing team, everyone must respect each other mutually to create the level of alliance that a high-performance team requires. Individual career goals and competitiveness need to be put to one side for the team's greater good.
There are many ways to show respect within a team. It could be something as simple as actively listening to others when they are speaking, or showing appreciation for a job well done.
Respect is the glue that holds a high-performing team together. Without it, team members will quickly become disengaged and unhappy. If you want to create a high-performing team, make sure that respect is at the foundation.
High-performance teams require structure and organization to be effective. This doesn’t mean endless meetings to discuss individual tasks and points; an element of autonomy must exist with a system of checks and balances. There must be an overall strategy and plan so members are aware of their objectives. Without this, it is difficult to measure progress and identify areas that need improvement. Organizational structure requires preparation and planning, so that the necessary resources and resources are available when they are needed so as not to impede progress.
Work Ethic And Talent
The talent within a team is the core reason why it advances and succeeds. Obviously, team members must have an incredible work ethic to perform at a high level, but they also need to possess genuine talent. This is usually vetted during recruitment and onboarding. It can also be gauged during performance reviews and when gathering employee feedback.
It's also important for team members to have complementary skills. No one is good at everything, so it's important to have a team that can cover a variety of different areas. This allows the team to be well-rounded and able to handle anything that comes their way. Having a balanced team composition will enable your organization to thrive.
Common Obstacles When Team Building
Putting together a high-performance team isn’t a straightforward process, and it’s pretty common to face obstacles along the way. It’s one thing to understand the typical components of a high performing team, but it is quite another to maintain one:
- Absentee leadership: A leader who has moved towards absentee leadership has put all of the requirements into their team's hands, leading to stress and lack of trust.
- Non-rational decision-making: Teams who emphasize haste over speed might make decisions rapidly without considering the overall effects and outcomes.
- Poor communication: Teams might work autonomously but the team will fail when communication drops completely.
- Single-minded: High-performance teams tend to entice others of the same background and experience; this can lead to a lack of diversity and consideration.
- Trust lacking: Without mutual trust and respect, teamwork fails.
- Conflicts left unchecked: As mentioned above, unchecked and resolved conflict ends teams quickly.
- Missing clarity over goals: To be highly effective, teams require clear goals and objectives to be met and recognized.
- Unclear roles and responsibilities: To effectively carry out duties and fulfill their roles, team members need to have complete clarity over what they are.
- Bad atmosphere: The general feel and vibe of the workplace have a considerable effect on the team working within it. Bad company culture will create an unhealthy workstyle. Time must be taken to understand workplace psychology.
HR's Role In Building High-Performance Teams
HR can play a pivotal role in building high-performance teams, from their initial creation to their continued maintenance. While they might not be a direct part of the team, HR can be instrumental in the support and longevity of the team.
Simply being there for the team as a sounding board and independent member can go very far. The team might become somewhat insular to the exclusion of others, but when required, they’ll reach out for support.
HR should be readily available to support your team. One of the main ways HR can support a high-performance team is to help create a cohesive atmosphere, pull together the unique skill sets, and foster a collaborative and innovative workspace. This can also be taken in a more literal sense by providing the physical tools and equipment required to carry out their work in an effective and safe manner.
It's critical to recruit new people into the team or establish new teams if you want your organization to succeed. When new recruits enter a fast-paced, intimidating workplace, they will require assistance in fully accepting and understanding their role. Even before this, it is an essential part of the HRs role to assist in selecting new candidates. HR should take the time to understand existing team composition and what the ideal candidate might look like, both in terms of technical expertise and personality type.
Communication is vital within high-performance teams, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all members have strong communication skills from the outset. HR can assist in this area by providing training on how to communicate effectively while also ensuring that lines of communication are open and clear.
Team Member Training
Making the most of those on the team is a surefire way to increase productivity and ability. These team members already display the aptitudes of high achievers, so allowing further training and professional development is a great way to boost the team.
Acting as a mediator when conflict arises is a core part of HR's role within high-performance teams. When conflict appears, HR's role is to mediate and find a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. This is especially important in high-performance teams, as their productivity can be easily disrupted by disagreements. By acting as a neutral third party, HR can help keep the team focused on their goals and avoid any unnecessary drama.
Collaboration comes naturally to some, and others require training and assistance to see the usefulness of collaborating. HR can provide training and even act as a collaborative partner within high-performance teams. To create a collaborative culture, employees must have opportunities to practice collaboration and develop the skills required for effective teamwork.
This is especially true at the start of a new project, where HR can help set goals that everyone on the team is happy to work towards. When employees are given the chance to work together on projects, they learn how to communicate better, compromise, and solve problems together. This type of learning is essential for developing the skills needed for success.
How To Build A High-Performance Team
To create a high-performing team, you need dedication, the appropriate people, and the proper resources. Dedication necessitates hard work. Finding suitable individuals takes time, effort, and a well-planned hiring strategy. This is where Culture Booster saves the day.
Culture Booster allows you to create an employee experience that runs seamlessly and effortlessly supports your high-performance teams.
In one, easy to use a piece of software, you’re able to:
- Recognize your team members and reward their efforts with Stars
- Hold useful, reflective 1-1 performance review meetings with Summary
- Carry out meaningful Surveys to understand what your team is thinking
- Access actionable insights with Scorecard
- Use Strategy to set, track and collaborate on goals
Do you want to know more about building teams that excel?
Get in touch and book a demo. We'd be happy to help!
High-performance teams are built differently than the run of the mill. It takes careful planning and execution to create a team that will work well together and achieve great things. It takes time and work to create them, but when teams are, they need to be well managed, lead with purpose, and supported.