What Makes A Team High Performing?

We all know that a team working together has the potential to deliver great results. At the same time, not all teams perform at their optimal level. So what sets apart the high performing teams?

Focus on results

The best performing teams know where they are heading, the results they want to achieve and keep focussed on delivering the results.

Next time you are holding a team meeting, give everyone in the team two sheets of paper. On the first sheet get everyone to write down their answer to the following question:

What’s our vision as a team?

On the second sheet get everyone to write down their answer to this question:

What are the key things you need to focus on to deliver your contribution to the vision?

Discuss and debate this and come up with a clearly agreed statement of your vision and the contribution each person needs to make to deliver the vision.

Accept accountability for making things happen

Winning teams all take responsibility for making things happen rather than being a bystander in the process. They also are accountable for what they have promised to deliver.

Absolute trust

When there is absolute trust in a team there is no need to watch over as people commit, are accountable and take responsibility for making it happen. If you are the leader of a team or part of a team you might want to consider how well you create the conditions to have absolute trust. This includes delegating and leaving people to get on with it and allowing people to bring you bad news.

Engage in debate rather than avoid conflict

The best teams recognise the importance of communication. The communication needs to be open, honest and be directed at those who need to make change rather than it being a coffee machine conversation. How often do you sweep things under the carpet just because it keeps the peace?

Learn to listen and see different perspectives

Listening is a huge part of what makes communication effective in teams.
The question is how effective are they at listening and understanding different perspectives in the team. If you are leading the team make sure everyone gets their air time and one or two do not dominate the proceedings

Use questions as a means of deepening learning and understanding

Asking effective questions is another core skill in the best performing teams.
Powerful questions are a great way to deepen understanding and move things forward. When combined with effective listening they have the potential to get even the most stuck team into action. If action is important use questions like:

What will you do?

When will you do it by?

If trying to deepen learning or understanding, try questions like:

What’s important about that?

What outcome do you want?

What else?

Pursue team rather than individual goals

In simple terms, teams that deliver great results and are a great place to work recognise the importance of focusing on team goals rather than getting stuck on personal agenda’s.

Take risks and accept failure

What I am referring to here is a willingness to have a go and try something different which might work and might not. Successful teams encourage people to take balanced risks.

Recognise each others strengths

We can all fall into the trap of liking people who are just like us. The danger is that we end up with no diversity in the team. In some ways it is like trying to build a football team with 11 centre forwards and expecting it to get results.

Accept that everyone is not going to be great at everything and play to team members’ strengths rather than their weaknesses.

Bottom Line: High performing teams deliver great contributions to organisation success.

Goals and Achievements help NHS and other healthcare related organisations to deliver great results through high performing teams. Learn more here