We have all experienced or at least witnessed a high performing team in action. But why do certain teams perform better than others? What is it that sets these teams apart?
Today, we hope to help spot the difference and clarify the characteristics of a high performing team.
High performing teams are composed of individuals with specialized expertise and complementary skills who are purposeful and hyper-focused on achieving clear, outstanding results.
With the right approach to performance management skills, you will empower them to collaborate, innovate, and produce work at the highest levels.
There are at least eight characteristics of a high-performance team. These characteristics are interrelated.
Therefore, if your team exhibits one of these characteristics, it is likely that the team will display other attributes in the model too. The reverse is true too: If a team is negligent in one of the attributes, it will negatively impact other attributes.
Building an outstanding team requires more than just pulling together a group of talented people with the right skills. It requires careful development and the nurturing of key characteristics, behaviors, and best practices.
Eight Clear Characteristics Of A High Performing Team
It is true that every team is unique, however, there are common characteristics a high performing team share.
1. A Sense Of Purpose Aligned To Their Teams Priorities
A high performing team consists of individuals with a keen sense of purpose. The team members know the mission and have clearly defined goals since the beginning.
These people have set their eyes on the priorities and are driven with a strong focus on results and solutions.
Better yet, a high performing team has aligned its focus, purpose, and priorities so that the team and individual goals support a shared vision so that their work drives achievement. Goals are not only aligned but they are clearly defined so everyone knows exactly what they need to do and how to get there.
2. They Know The Mission
There is no time for these people to wonder how or why they do the work they do. This is because these employees know exactly how their job fits into the context of the overall goals and mission of the company.
Therefore, they are more engaged and productive which makes them a high performing team. These teams have the FutureFit Skills to know their “why” and work together to support a shared vision.
3. Defined Roles And Shared Leadership
A high performing team always has an effective leader who asks for ideas and suggestions from their members. They value their team’s insights and are not autocratic. This kind of leader understands the key role of their members.
Also, it is important to reduce conflict in teams because it can quickly derail talent and productive members.
The best way to soften conflict is by clearly defining each person’s roles and responsibilities. This prevents confusion over project ownership, keeps workflows and deadlines organized, and ensures accountability across the board.
4. Open And Respectful Communication
Open, free communication is essential to maximizing performance. As soon as communication stops, conflicts begin to arise which reduces performance.
A high performing team sets clear expectations and channels for communication, so members know how, when, and where to communicate effectively. They also know exactly who to approach.
Conflict is normal; however, a high performing team should understand how to navigate it in a healthy way that does not create more obstacles.
This is also why leadership training companies and programs are important for maximizing productivity.
5. They Set Priorities
A high performing team knows how to manage their workflow effectively because they focus on what matters most and spend their time accordingly.
We suggest focusing on the most urgent matters first because not all work has equal importance or urgency.
Therefore, it’s best to manage projects based on what tasks have the highest priority and highest impact. This keeps work aligned with organizational goals and ensures everyone is focused on work that drives growth.
6. Mutual Trust
For cooperation to happen across a high performing team in the workplace there must be a keen sense of trust and respect between members.
High achievements are only possible when there is collaboration, and everyone values and trusts each other to do their job.
They respect the diversity of thought and experience and recognize those differences which makes them stronger.
This culture of trust helps everyone:
- Bring their full selves to the job.
- Take risks.
- Share ideas.
- Innovate together.
7. Reward, Celebrate And Recognize Successes
Members of a high performing team do their best to celebrate each other’s successes and win and take opportunities to recognize and show appreciation for each employee’s contributions.
This builds a strong culture of collaboration and helps everyone feel valued and connected.
8. A Growth Mindset
Only the best teams have what we call a ‘Growth Mindset.’
Having a curiosity for change to stay relevant in an ever-changing world of work is what gives a high performing team room to grow.
The most successful teams value feedback and learn from their mistakes. They look for opportunities to gain experience by nurturing a feedback culture and investing in ongoing employee development.
Continuous learning propels growth and keeps teams striving for higher achievement.
Creating A High-Performing Team
As a business leader, it is a challenge to create a high performing team because it takes prudent decision-making when selecting your team members as well as time.
It takes commitment and investment in continuous growth and development.
We recommend using the below tips to start building a high performing team.
Define A Common Purpose
For members to feel valued, connected, and unified they require a keen sense of purpose. You must define clear goals to achieve team alignment. We can help you do this with our FutureFit skills and courses.
Business leaders of a high performing team must continuously evaluate priorities and team goals to ensure they are aligned and working well. Company goals must be top of mind by regularly communicating and connecting those goals to the team’s work.
We recommend using one-on-ones to check in with team members on their progress, identify key priorities, and ensure their work aligns with the overall team goals. This helps create a shared sense of purpose and ensures the team is working together in the same direction to drive performance.
A high-performing team must have access to clear, streamlined communication. Keep everyone on the same page by establishing clear processes and expectations for communication.
It is an excellent idea to use communication channels like Slack for quick chats and team updates and team management tools like Asana to house project data, define responsibilities, and track progress and assignments.
Having set communication processes helps prevent conflict and ensures key information is shared with the right people, assignments and responsibilities are clear, so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Invest In Employee Training
To achieve a talented team, it is in your best interests to invest in their continued learning and development. Doing this will provide consistently outstanding results.
Encourage team members to ask questions, explore possibilities and adapt based on what they learn. When teams are continually building on their knowledge and learning from past mistakes, they are more effective, efficient, and innovative.
Drive team performance by investing in your employees’ growth and development. Identify relevant development opportunities that focus on team needs and priorities, as well as individual goals.
Our FutureFit Courses help employees feel motivated, empowered, and better equipped to do their job.
Therefore, creating a high performing team takes time and will not happen overnight.
Business leaders must have patience because once you do bring the best people together with the right skills and experience and nurture these fundamental characteristics of a high performing team – your payoff will be worth every effort!