“Teamwork makes the dream work”, as the saying goes. For those business owners who are attempting to manage a team and a profitable business at the same time, these words may sound more like the punchline to a bad joke, rather than the key piece of advice that it is.
High Performance and Inspiration
A high performing team is beneficial to everyone. Each member of the team enjoys their job to a greater degree, which makes them more motivated to work harder for the benefit of the business. Management enjoys fewer obstacles such as disciplinary issues or uninspired performance from team members.
That high level of performance in the individuals who is reflected in the business’s overall performance, which means more profits, which in turn serves as additional motivation for employees. Lastly, the customers experience the benefit of a high performing team in excellent customer service, clear websites, stunning social media, and promotions.
But how do you inspire a high performing team? Where does this energy and vigor for success come from? While the chemistry and interaction of every team will be different, with a variety of things that motivate or disappoint them, there are several key aspects to high performing teams.
By exploring these aspects, there may be some important ideas that can lead to higher performance in your team, and your business, to boot.
What Are the Key Aspects to a High Performing Team?
Every team building guru or Human Resources expert is going to have different ideas as to what makes a high performing team. In fact, there are many specific activities or actions a leader can pursue in order to create an ace team of motivated experts.
But at the end of the day, the main components of a great team can be uncovered in a few basic areas: Communication, Empowerment, and Leadership.
Communication is the cornerstone of any business. Many teams suffer from some form of communication breakdown, so it’s important that team members are able to not just speak to each other well, but to fully communicate, clearly and respectfully.
If every member of a team clearly understands a concept or process immediately, the entire team prevails, with no wasted time, effort, or expense.
Likewise, communicating respectfully can prevent mistakes, ensure everyone is on the same page, and reduce duplicated or unnecessary efforts. Disagreements should be allowed, as long as all parties can debate and discuss pragmatically and honestly, without getting in an emotional shouting match.
One key strategy for creating open and honest communication is encouraging interpersonal interaction. Rather than sending emails or scheduling meetings for separate groups, consider allowing all team members to interact to solve every problem or question along the way.
In his book, “Management 3.0”, Jurgen Appelo references this theory, noting that by encouraging team members to interact with each other more, their interest in their work, the company, and their success increases. While some teams discourage disagreements and debate, respectfully sharing thoughts, opinions, and ideas regarding a project increases open collaboration and dedication to a project’s success.
Pointing out concerns, errors, or potential problems saves everyone time and effort, and helps a team reach a goal with fewer issues or failures.
Empowerment is another requirement for high performing teams. If team members see that their particular efforts aren’t swept under a congratulatory message to their higher ups, and are instead attributed to the team and its members, they will be far more encouraged that their efforts are noticed and valuable.
Employees who feel valued by their employer will be more productive, as Appelo notes. Instead, he notes that any group of people should be more than following orders. Instead, they should feel empowered to set both team and individual goals that reflect clear expectations and allow each team member to demonstrate their unique assets.
Feeling empowered increases productivity by allowing teams to “own” their successes and stumbles.
However, failure should not be viewed in a negative outcome, but rather a natural step from which the team can learn. Individuals who simply follow directions, rather than being empowered to understand choices and consequences, lack this feeling of involvement with their projects.
Letting a team experience and learn from their failures encourages a feeling of responsibility, meaning their actions are valued, rather than swept away as a statistic or something to forget about.
Communication should be facilitated and encouraged by leadership, and the sense of empowerment should be fostered by management, as well.
Leadership should ensure that every individual on a team understands their personal responsibilities, goals and expectations throughout the process. They should also understand, both through the example of leadership and the environment created by leadership, that they should communicate with honesty and integrity, openly, and without negative emotion.
Leadership should be not only honored for their successes, but held accountable for failures, as well.
A high performing team is not created unless all members are participating at the same level, and leadership should not just encourage and inspire them, but hold them accountable. This reduces errors while increasing productivity.
Leadership should also be held to the same standards as every other individual within the organization, too. High performing teams are more productive because they know that leadership has the same goals as the team, rather than being absent or uninvolved in the process, while claiming credit for the outcome.
What’s your Experience?
While each leader may choose to engage in a variety of methods and strategies to drive these aspects, teams that have impeccable communication skills, a high sense of empowerment, and leadership that advocates and takes responsibility for them, these key aspects can be found in high performing teams in every area of business.
Team members who share honest communication, feel empowered, and accountable leadership will experience increased productivity and responsibility, making these the key aspects of high performing teams.
What about you, what’s your experience? Is your workplace a place that encourages growth? If you are a business owner, are you already applying these principles to your teams?
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