Putting a group of High Performers together does not guarantee a High Performing Team.
The first thing to realise is that not every group of people is a team, nor needs to be. A group of people form a team when they are dependant on each other to deliver the result, the purpose of them coming together. The essence of teamwork is the knowledge that collaboration is essential, that without the team, the one cannot breathe or survive.
So how do you ensure that the people you have put together can function as a team, or better yet can unleash that secret sauce of a High Performing team?
There are a certain number of criteria that most organisational psychologists and business experts will agree on. To create a team you must have the following:
A Common Purpose
Nothing brings people together better than a common goal. When people come together to achieve the same outcome you are more likely to find cohesion and collaboration. When all members of a team are inspired towards that common goal they will be motivated to share and grow together.
A Clear Leader
Although there are many groups that function well without a defined leader, a leaderless group can quickly deteriorate into chaos. Leadership doesn’t have to be fixed, it doesn’t have to command a hierarchy, it could rotate regularly but there should always be someone taking the control, driving things forward.
Clear roles are essential for clarity, productivity and accountability. Understanding the scope and the boundaries of your position ensures you don’t overwork but also that you are pulling your weight. The best way to become productive is to have clarity on your priorities and responsibilities. Clear roles can aid accountabiity.
Accountability is important to encourage progress and also for team trust and respect. When team members understand each other’s roles and are able to hold each other accountable for their responsibilities, teamwork tends to run more smoothly.
Patrick Lencioni put trust as the foundation of a team in his 5 Dysfunction of a team model but trust is a difficult thing to influence. Easier to influence and possibly more important is the concept of psychological safety, ensuring that team members feel that it is safe to speak, safe to express themselves and their ideas without any negative repercussions. When there is a sense of psychological safety on a team, teams perform better.
Here are a few more important elements that we have observed in our time working with High Performers and High Performing teams.
A Communication Tool
It’s obvious that communication is key to any working relationship but how we communicate is essential for productivity and efficiency. Email is not the place to have team conversations about team tasks. The best place to have these conversations is in a team tool. There are many great tools on the market, Asana, Trello, Slack or Evernote for Business. Whichever tool you chose, commit to it for a couple of months to get the true value.
A Positive Attitude
With a positive attitude there are no barriers, problem solving becomes an interesting challenge and roadblocks melt into background. Teams with a can do attitude will be more connected and achieve more together. Creating a culture of acceptance, respect and friendliness will encourage positivity and happiness in the workplace;
Because ultimately a happy team is a productive team
Ciara Conlon is a High Performance Leadership Coach, Speaker and co-founder of Spirit Leadership. She is the author of three books, her most recent publication Rise Before Your Bull and other Habits of Successful People is available here
If you want to find out more about how we can help you or your team become High Performers, get in touch via the contact page.