What Does it Take to Build a High-Performance Team?


Having high-performance teams in your company is essential if you want to compete favourably with other companies that rely on teamwork.

High-performance teams are something every business leader wants, but not many leaders know the necessary steps to build one.

Also, not every team has what it takes to be a high-performing team. But one thing is clear: creating a high-performing team requires work.

But don’t despair, building a high-performance team is not as difficult as it may seem. You just need to be aware of the most important steps to building a high-performance team and make sure to implement them in your organisation.

The following are the top strategies that will help you build a high-performance team.

Encourage innovation

To compete in the economy of today, every business needs to be highly dynamic and innovative. Good ideas have a short half-life nowadays, and a company must come up with new strategies and technologies to stay competitive.

But when team members are too inhibited by management to take risks (since they fear being penalised for failures), this blocks innovation from all parts of the hierarchy except the very top levels.

Instead, employees are likely to follow established ways of doing things, instead of seeking new ways, since that allows them to ‘play it safe’ with the management.

And, if there is little or no innovation in a workplace, teams can’t become high-performing. That’s why it’s essential to encourage innovation in your workplace. Reward it whenever it occurs, and enable your staff to take risks.

Appreciate your staff

Paying good wages is not the only way of appreciating your staff. Talk to them directly, and make them feel respected. Congratulate them on accomplishments and reward them with bonuses, recognition, and by giving them more autonomy.

Treating your team members well is a simple, yet highly effective way to double or even triple their motivation. They are more likely to perform at their very best, which is essential for generating high-performance teams.

Get everyone involved when making decisions

It is important to seek the input of all team members before making important decisions. That doesn’t mean you have to give up control since you’ll still have the last word on every matter.

But when you make decisions 100% alone, you make people feel undervalued, and also miss out on a lot of potentially useful contributions. Decision-making should not be limited to senior staff members alone, but include input from all team members.

Lead by example

Some leaders are not very effective because they tell their staff what to do, without showing them how to do it. You can’t expect your employees to be diligent and hardworking if you’re not.

So try to be the boss that serves as an inspiration to your staff members, and motivate them to reach for true excellence through your own example.

Listen to your team

Many leaders are great at communicating their ideas but are not so good at listening to their staff. Your team members might be showing signs of frustration that you are not noticing. You might be cutting them off too often, or ignoring them when they try to communicate with you. Look for signs like this, which indicate you are not listening to your team enough.

Meetings shouldn’t just be about you talking and briefing your team on what to do. You should also take the time to listen. Communication is a two-way process, and it involves both speaking and listening. You should always welcome the input of your staff when they offer it.

Formulate a clear vision

Clarity is critical for successful leadership of high-performance teams. Some leaders tend to get lost in complexity while forgetting about the fundamental objectives. So, you should try to be very clear and transparent about your vision, and what you want your teams to achieve.

This is why it’s important to share the big picture with your staff and break it down for them in great detail, so they truly understand it.

When everyone on a team understands the fundamentals of the company vision, it’s easier for them to understand their individual contribution to it.

Pay adequate salaries

If you underpay your staff, you’ll get employees that aren’t very good, since the best ones are going to your competitors who offer better salaries. Or, if you do succeed in getting good people, they are unlikely to be highly motivated to do their best, since they are worth more than you are paying them.

So, if you want to create a high-performing team, you need to pay your staff what they are actually worth, instead of trying to get them at a bargain price.

What makes an exceptional team?

There are several fundamental qualities that can be found in all high-performing teams, and these are what you should be looking for, and seeking to cultivate.

Exceptional team members are always passionate about what they do, and they are also empathetic with their team members. In addition, they tend to have a high level of emotional intelligence and are good at working with people.          

Ultimately, however, there is no exact science to building an exceptional team, since it relies more on ‘soft skills’ than hard rules. So, you should work on developing the necessary skills in yourself, and then figure out what you are looking for, and build it through trial and error.

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People, CultureLauren Ryder