Team Management

Building a High Performance Team: Leadership Diaries

Building a high performance team is one of the top goals for any manager. The rationale is simple. Teams that perform like a well-oiled machine ensure high productivity and efficiency, directly impacting the organizational bottom line. High performance teams are generally those which have a shared vision with a clear path to achieve the same which everyone aligns with. Such teams are built on communication, trust, transparency which ensures that they deliver results not only once, but consistently. High performing teams don’t deliver a one-off chance win, but constantly outperform themselves and set higher standards. Invariably, such a team is a manager’s paradise. 

A Leader’s Route to Creating a High Performance Team

Contrary to popular belief, building a high performance team is not limited to bringing together top performers to work collaboratively. Unless the wavelength of all team members is aligned and there is a positive culture, creating a high performance team is a difficult task. Fortunately, forward looking leaders have been able to formulate a roadmap for others to follow:

  • Hire and retain the right people

Building a high performance team begins with hiring the right people and making efforts to retain them. To be clear, the term right people doesn't translate to those with the highest qualifications or skills. Hiring the right people is about bringing together those who have the competencies, along with the right attitude, passion, and drive for the role. As a first step, managers who are onboarding members to create a high performance team must get a holistic view of their profile and go beyond technical questions to assess their personality as a whole. Once the right talent is on board, recognition, appreciation, engagement, motivation, etc. become integral to retaining them. Put simply, if employee turnover is high, the performance of the team will always be weak. 

  • Align on the goals and vision

The next step to building a high performance team is about establishing a shared vision and goals that everyone aligns with. The idea is not only to have a vision that everyone agrees to, but actually aligns with and sees it as a part of their personal and professional vision. Here, collective brainstorming and ideation, guided by the spirit of inclusion of all voices will play an important role. Vision building exercises can help, which can be followed by collectively creating a roadmap to achieve the vision. A shared vision ensures connectedness in the group. Research shows that “teams that rank in the top 20% for connectedness see 41% less absenteeism, 59% less employee turnover, and a 66% increase in employee wellness”.  This clearly illustrates how alignment on vision leads to a connected team which is high performing. 

  • Have an effective conflict resolution mechanism

No matter how like-minded people are on the team, conflict and disagreements are bound to happen. Some managers believe that their word is the last one and the right way to resolve a conflict. However, while this might work in some cases, more often than not, a comprehensive conflict resolution mechanism is needed. Leaders can have an unwritten rule of sorts on how a conflict within the team would be handled. Ideally, all members of the team must be given a chance to voice their concern and resolution should focus on a mutually agreed solution which benefits the team and the organization. 

  • Focus on emotional intelligence and trust

Building a team only on technical aspects without a human and emotional connect will rarely ensure high performance. On the one hand, leaders need to be empathetic and go out of their way to promote holistic wellbeing for their team members. On the other hand, a culture of trust is crucial to top performance. Team members who trust that their managers and leaders have their best interest in mind at work are likely to outperform those with a lack of trust. According to a research, “45% percent of people said lack of trust in leadership was the biggest issue impacting their work performance”. The point here is that team members need to be high on emotional intelligence and must trust each other to give in their 100%.

  • Facilitate open communication and collaboration

Finally, one of the most important strings to building a high performance team is open communication and collaboration. Teams that communicate effectively and frequently are always on the same page and report lower instances of conflict. At the same time, according to Salesforce, “86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures”. Therefore, managers and leaders need to up their game when it comes to facilitating team communication with active and empathetic listening, feedback, etc. 

Preparing Managers to Build High Performance Teams

To cut a long story short, there are multiple strategies that managers and leaders can adopt to build high performing teams. The objective is also to prepare and equip managers with the right skills and competencies to execute these strategies. Here, platforms like SuperBeings can play a crucial role with state of the art manager development programs that focus on behavioural nudges to help managers build their dream team!

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