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10 secrets of high performing teams

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“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”  Michael Jordan 

Have you ever led a high performing team or worked in one? What made it different to other teams you have worked with? High performing teams tend to be tight knit with a real focus on achieving their goals and able to overcome any obstacles thrown in their way.

Here are ten of the qualities that are common amongst high performing teams.

1) Everyone is working towards a shared common goal

High performing teams aim higher so goals are stretching and clearly defined, with everyone understanding the importance of and committed to achieving the team goals.

2) There are clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the team, which are understood by everyone

Each member of the team has a clear understanding of how they contribute to the team and the achievement of goals, and they also know exactly what everyone else in the team is responsible for and they all hold each other to account.

3) There is regular open and honest communication at all levels within the team

Communication in the team is specific and frequent, as all team members appreciate the value of keeping each other up to speed on progress in their particular area, and how their success or otherwise might impact onto others’ roles and responsibilities. People aren’t left in the dark, everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the discussions, with the whole team aware of the progress being made.

4) Trust and respect for each other are evident

Trust is a critical factor in high performing teams, with all members having positive expectations of each other’s abilities. The level of trust in the team increases confidence and the desire to play their part in the achievement of the team goals.

5) Conflict is surfaced and resolved on a regular basis

As people hold each other to account and there is open and honest dialogue, the teams are far more comfortable in raising concerns and discussing issues that arise. The levels of trusts are such that challenge in the team is treated in a mature manner.

6) People support each other and recognise each other’s strengths

In high performing teams people are keen to help each other, which reduces the “stigma” of asking for help, as everyone is working towards the same outcome. Individuals in the team will have different strengths that they bring to the table and all can see the benefit of tapping into each other strengths when appropriate.

7) No one person in the team is more important than the others

Egos are put to one side as all team members are working towards team targets and goals, rather than individual objectives. Success is regarded as a team effort and requires the input of everyone in the team.

8) People take ownership and responsibility for their actions and goals

Too often a manager sees their role as being a solutions provider. Always being the one with the answers prevents the team and individuals from growing and developing their own skill set. In the right environment individuals are prepared to stand up and be counted and push themselves to achieve their part in achieving the team objectives. They welcome the opportunity to contribute and accept the consequences of their actions.

9) People do not feel threatened by the prospect of change

If anything they welcome change as it provides the opportunity to demonstrate creativity, problem solving skills and an increase in the knowledge and experience of the team.

10) The culture in the team provides the opportunity to maximise the talents of all the individuals in the team

The leader of a high performing team helps create the vision and set the direction, but then gets out of the way to allow the team to drive towards the goal. A high performing team is one that is striving for continuous improvement. Stagnation is the potential danger for the team and it is important for the individuals to work in their stretch zones, which challenges them to use all their skills and to develop new ones.

Questions for you to consider:   

– How many of the 10 qualities listed above are in place in your team?   

– What steps would you need to take to instill this group dynamic with your people?   

– What have you done to drive empowerment in your team?   

– Who could you ask for help and advice in this area?

The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.”  Knute Rockne

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