When we talk about performance, the focus often tends to be on the negative – handling an employee who is underperforming and the processes we need to follow to drive improvement. We often neglect to think about the conditions which lead to driving high performance in a team and how to create these.

The characteristics of a high-performing team

Of course for a team to be high performing, it’s important that it contains a bunch of talented people with the right mix of skills and expertise; but this on its’ own isn’t enough. After all, the whole point of working in teams is that the total is greater than the sum of its’ parts. So what are the magic ingredients to achieving this?

There are many theories and models as to what drives high performance and creates a high-performing team, but they all consistently agree that such teams share the following elements:

A shared sense of purpose

High-performing teams know what they are setting out to achieve in the context of the business’ wider goals; they understand how their own individual roles contribute to the success of the business and are aligned in their focus, purpose and priorities.

You might like to read: Why your employee sense of purpose is vital to your business success

Defined roles and responsibilities

Similarly to understanding both team and individual contribution; each member of the team has a clearly defined role, leaving little room for ambiguity and the conflict that arises from not knowing who should be doing what.

Clear communication

Communication plays a huge part in the success of a team. A high-performing team will have in place the optimal channels and processes to ensure that the right messages are communicated to the right people, at the right time; and will take a collaborative approach to their work.

Trust and mutual respect

The key to a team being able to perform is the ability of all its members to respect the combined level of experience and to trust others to do their jobs to the best of their ability without feeling the need to jump in (or interfere!). They understand that diversity of people, experience and thought makes the team stronger overall and strive to have a healthy level of conflict rather than avoiding it or taking disagreements personally.

Continuous learning

High-performing teams understand that there is always room to grow and develop, they are given regular feedback by their leaders and work in an environment where people are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

So, do you recognise these attributes within your own team or those which you lead? What are the areas you believe you could further develop to create even stronger performance? Building a high-performing team doesn’t happen overnight and takes a great deal of investment, commitment, and a different style of management; but trust us when we say that the results will speak for themselves!

For some hints and tips on managing and driving high performance in your team, check out our free download.

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