Can you build a high performing team? One that thinks and works as one? Do they think that “we are great” as a group? Do they support each other? There are many keys to a high performing team. As a start, a great team needs at least one person from each of the four social styles, driver, analytical, amiable and expressive. This creates a balance view on each issue or discussion. Next is the alignment of goals; the team must be focused, motivated and incented towards the same goal. Conflicting goals and objectives will not produce the results the company is seeking.
There are six characteristics of high performing teams:
- Great Communications
- Trust and Openness
- Constructive Conflict
- Commitment and Passion
- Results and Metrics
Communications is the basis for all team interactions. The leader must decide what type, level and richness of communications they would like based on the anticipated results. Most high performing teams today use a combination of phone, email, instant messaging, webcams, and team meetings. Today instant messaging is a huge productivity enhancer (and team enhancer). Webcams are quickly replacing travel and increase familiarly and good communication skills between team members.
Trust requires shared experiences over time and an understanding of the social style of each member. The leader must demonstrate vulnerability first, then others on team will feel safe. The leader must create an environment that doesn’t punish vulnerability.
Constructive Conflict happens when leaders demonstrate restraint, when their people engage in conflict, and allow a resolution to occur naturally. As messy as it may sometimes be, let teammates develop their own conflict management skills. Leaders must model appropriate conflict behavior. Constructive conflict is the willingness of high performing teams to engage in passionate and vigorous conversations around issues and opportunities. To engage in constructive conflict requires that team members are open with and trust each other.
Commitment and Passion is the leadership skill to be constantly guiding the group for closure around issues, as well as hitting schedules and commitments. Commitment is a function of clarity and buy-in.
Accountability occurs when team members call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team. Accountability is a shared team responsibility and the leader of the team must be ready to step in when necessary.
Results and Metrics occur when the leader sets the tone for a focus on results. The team leader must measure the right things, be selfless and objective, and reserve rewards and recognition for those who make real contributions to the achievement of the group goals.