Team Building:
Characteristics of High Performance Teams

High performance teams tend to have a particular set of characteristics that make them go beyond the ordinary. They manage to pull together to create extraordinary results and are capable of performing and adapting even in rapidly changing or challenging environments.

"Most teams aren't teams at all but merely collections of individual relationships with the boss" (Douglas Murray McGregor)

As a business owner, having a team like this can lift your business to great heights.

You know you have a great team when the individuals within it are motivated, committed and competent people who are very effective even on their own.

But when high performing individuals come together as a team their achievements can be exceptional.

So how can you create one for your business?

10 characteristics of high performance teams

1. Shared vision

Creating a vision that pulls the team forward is an essential component of any team. What makes it especially effective as an employee motivation technique is when all the team members have contributed to the overall vision and also the team goal setting so that they all feel a responsibility towards making it happen.

2. Strong communication

One of the notable traits of a high performance team is that they make a real effort to make sure that everyone on the team understands what the plan is and does what is necessary to achieve it.

Each team member also recognizes that they have an obligation to keep themselves informed - they don't just wait around expecting to be informed or directed by the manager, they are proactive in keeping themselves updated.

The other factor that defines these teams is that they keep each other accountable and provide feedback to each other if somebody is under-performing.

3. Review of work quality

It is always important for teams to stop every now and again and take stock of how well they are performing and to review the quality of their output.

This is a vital process for anybody in business. High performance teams stop at appropriate times to check how things are going and to see whether anything can be improved.

4. Everyone is involved

Strong teams know that their strength lies in what they can do together so they make sure that every team member is involved - nobody gets left behind.

Quieter team members who say little are mobilized to march toward achieving the team’s vision. These teams understand that it is the responsibility of every team member to search out and discover the capabilities of all the other team members.

5. Self-directed

One of the best employee motivation techniques is to allow your team to be self-directed. What this means in practice is that you can tell the team ‘what’ needs to be achieved but allow the team to work out how to achieve it.

Your goal as the manager is to remind your team about the business' goals but then step back to enable them to get on with it.

6. Celebration of successes

This applies to anybody who wants to achieves goals and its the same for teams. Celebrating small successes along the way builds team morale and increases the team’s determination to achieve the ultimate goal.

7. Time-orientated

High performance teams keep themselves on track to deliver their results by specific deadlines. They don't need a boss to keep reminding them.

8. ‘Zone of Concern’

When it comes to team goal setting and motivation there is a 'sweet spot' between pushing them too much and too little.

Push them too far and they become anxious; don't push them enough and they become too comfortable. When a team operates in this 'zone of concern' (between its comfort zone and its anxiety zone) it is most likely to perform better and consequently bond better and become stronger.

So it’s important to push your team by setting stretching team goals but not so far that it stresses them and causes them to become less productive.

9. Consistently successful

High performance teams are consistent in their performance and continue to achieve exceptional results over time.

10. Strong leadership

Leadership doesn't just come from the boss and leaders do not necessarily have a 'leadership role'.

Great teams have leaders within the team who aren’t afraid to make tough decisions in the best interest of the group. These are the people who step up and take responsibility and have a natural tendency to influence those around them.

Business Coaching Questions:

  • How much space do you give your team to be self-directed?
  • Who are the leaders within your team?
  • Are your team operating in the 'zone of concern'?

Team building trainers

If you're interested in building stronger teams in your business and you happen to be based in Australia, we would recommend working with David Arnfield Corporate Training.

David Arnfield has worked with elite professional sports teams for much of his career and now applies the same principles to business teams in the workplace. Sports teams provide the best examples of what a high performance team can achieve. Without effective teamwork they are just a bunch of individual sporting stars, they achieve nothing without the ability to work together.

If you'd like to find out more about David's work contact him by using the form below:

Send an enquiry form to David Arnfield

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