What makes a high-performing team

SmartCompany, August 9 2016:

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“I’m going to find the biggest bunch of losers and work with them!”

No one says that! No one aspires to work in an under-performing team that has no:

  • Purpose
  • Focus
  • Fun

Think back to a time when you were a part of a team that you loved; this was your best team experience ever. It may be the team you are a part of now, a work team, a sporting team, a community project, or a team that you were a part of as a child.

What was the team called?

What made it the best team ever?

How did it feel to be a part of this team?

When I ask this question with the teams I work with, the answers shared run along similar themes to the ones listed below:

  • “It was fun”
  • “We got things done”
  • “I learnt a lot”
  • “We had each other’s back”
  • “We worked hard”
  • “We got on really well”
  • “Everyone contributed”
  • “We had complementary skills”
  • “We trusted each other”
  • “There was open and honest communication”
  • “We were able to have the tough conversations that needed to be had and no one personalised this”
  • “We all knew the end goal”
  • “We had a plan and implemented this” (strategy)
  • “We were able to make decisions on our own or together”

What would you add to the list above?

Notice an absence of:

  • “We blamed each other when things went wrong”
  • “We held back on sharing information”
  • “We criticised each other”
  • “We engaged in contemptuous behaviours”. For example, eye rolling, passive aggressive /sarcastic /hostile humour, belittling of team members (belligerence, negative cynicism and hostility).

You already know what makes a low-performing team and what behaviours fuel this. The unpalatable truth is that we all engage in aspects of this; the first step is to be honest about where this shows up in our leadership/lives and to remove it.

And …

You already know what makes a high performing team. You have experienced this in your best team ever, the characteristics are the same.

When you view the list above you may notice that they comprise of both factors that promote engagement and feelings of positivity, as well as factors that promote productivity – getting the job done!

In your team is there a balance between working consciously towards factors that promote positivity and productivity? For a team to be high performing both are required.

What conversations could this spark in your team today?

Pollyanna Lenkic is an author, coach, and speaker who works with leading organisations. She is an expert in building high-performing teams. Her structured approach delivers an uplift of 25% in team performance. To work with Pollyanna go to her website