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Practical tips to build a high performing team

You can’t be the only A-player within your team and expect to smash your business goals out of the park. If your business is looking to reach new heights, then you are going to need a high performance team to back you up. To help you build a team that can take on any challenge, we’ve compiled a list of practical tips to get you on your way to high performance.

What is a high performing team?

A high performing team is a team within an organisation that works together to achieve excellent outcomes for the business. Each individual within the team should be highly motivated and focused on their goals, looking to exceed expectations that have been set by the organisation. They welcome challenges and aim to solve complex problems that result in improved business performance. 

Creating a high performing team is not just about the talents of each individual. More than anything, it relies on the state of your team culture. In order for teams to perform effectively, your team culture must support your overall business goals, objectives and values.

Characteristics of a high performing team include:

How to create a high performing team

Performance By Design specialises in building high performance teams. While there is no one size fits all, this is our high performance team model to help you build a high performing team of your very own. 

This might sound like an obvious one, but it can be one of the more difficult elements to master. It’s impossible to tell exactly what a person is like just from a job interview. However as a rule of thumb, a high performance team should be filled with a range of people with different backgrounds, experience levels and skills. They should also possess an attitude that suits your team culture and would make a unique contribution. Be upfront about the behavioural expectations you have and what values your team holds dearly.

A high performance team can’t exist without an equally high performing person leading it. To become a high performing leader you must:

For a team to be effective, they must have faith in their manager and feel comfortable coming to them for guidance. A high performing manager should also be committed to their own professional growth and not just expect team members to be doing the development work. This requires a lot of self awareness and self analysis. Leaders can often benefit from their own 1-1 coaching to help with this.

To build a high performing team, it is imperative that each team member understands their role, what they are responsible for and what the expectations are of them. Without clearly defined roles and responsibilities, teams can often become strained due to conflict and double handling. If everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for, your projects will become much more organised and team members will feel a sense of ownership and accountability. As a result, you will see an increase in employee engagement and enthusiasm.

For a team to perform highly they must thoroughly understand where the individual and team goalposts are and how they contribute to the overall business objectives. By having a good understanding of these two things, your team will feel valued and enthusiastic about their work.

Feedback is absolutely essential for high performing teams. In order to make positive change, you must be able to communicate areas for improvement with your team. Negative feedback can be hard to hear sometimes, so you must reassure your staff that feedback is a learning opportunity, not a scolding session. Let them know that the feedback is designed to improve business performance as well as their individual skills to help them grow in their career. A high performance team should also be comfortable giving and receiving feedback amongst themselves and to their manager. It should never be one way.

Don’t forget to spend time giving positive recognition too. It is a very powerful form of feedback that can spark motivation and job satisfaction. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine to give shoutouts to your team.

A high performing team must develop a certain level of respect and trust for one another. Considering your team members each have specific roles and responsibilities within the team, they must be trusted and empowered to fulfil their appointed duties. By cultivating a culture of mutual trust and respect, team members will feel a sense of safety, which is paramount when building a high performing team. If team members feel safe, they will feel comfortable exploring new ideas, take appropriate risks and look for ways to improve performance.

If team members do not trust or respect one another however, a dangerous tendency to dictate, micromanage and work individually can arise. This behaviour can also cause unnecessary conflict within a team, which decreases productivity and dampens the mood. 

The best part about a team is that it is filled with individuals. People who come from different backgrounds, have had different experiences in life and at work and have different skills. With diversity comes diversity of thought, which is an important aspect of solving complex problems or innovating new ideas. But it is not enough to just be a diverse team, you must also be inclusive.

For a team to be high performing, they must respect one another as individuals and make sure that everyone feels included in the team culture. One of the best ways to foster inclusion within a team is to get to know everyone on a deeper level. By showing interest in others, it demonstrates that an individual’s unique characteristics are seen, appreciated and accepted. Ask questions, make time for non work related activities and show that you care about your team members. The byproduct of having an inclusive team is good mental health and wellbeing, engagement and high performance.

Get in touch with the experts at Performance By Design

To help you achieve the high octane results you deserve, get in touch with Performance by Design. Our expert consultants can help you stamp out underperformance through 1-1 coaching, team training and culture strengthening.