Articles // September 02,2022

5 Ways To Build High Performing Teams

By Meenakshi Girish , Editor - Swetha Sitaraman

Any successful team will tell you that the secret of their success is teamwork. With collaboration and effective employees who play to their strengths, your team will always perform well and deliver quality services.

It isn’t enough if all your employees work for your company or inside the same meeting room. What makes a team is how they interact with each other and what values they share to reach a mutual goal. Communication and enhanced cooperation are key to achieving the expected results.

How do I build a high performing team?

First, know the size of your team or if your team recently expanded, understand the dynamics that have changed. When it comes to flexibility and collaboration among teams, you need to go for a personalised approach. Consider your employees and their mindsets and provide instructions in a way that is easy for them to understand.

Try to foresee conflicts that could occur depending upon how diverse your team is. Explore how they respond to criticism and train them on how to react to stress. They need to have a sense of integrity and respect one another to arrive at the desired outcomes every time.

At the end of the day, you will need skilled people who are committed to achieving a mutual goal. It won’t work if they don’t believe in the values of the company or are working for personal gains. They need to know how to analyse results and make informed decisions after deliberating with the entire team.

How do I build a team with these characteristics?

A study by McKinsey talks about how team composition plays a key role in building high performing teams. The team should not be too small as decision making will suffer due to lack of diversity, nor should it be too big as this results in reduced effectiveness. Goals and deadlines should be clear, but the ‘how’ should be left up to them. Having a sense of stability helps the team prepare for any future risks or major decisions.

Here are five ways you can build a high performing team and maintain it for consistent quality results:

#1 Let them know your values

It is indubitable that if your team has shared values and each person knows their role to reach the outcome, they will perform better. If you train your employees and let them know your team’s goals from Day 1, they will know how to think and contribute.

Shared values and trust creates a bond among team members, and this leads to a higher level of interaction. They can accept criticism so long as it enables better performance, and the entire team is on the same page. They no longer care about getting credit for what they have done.

They care more about winning together and getting the work done for the whole team’s success. Once we build trust, productivity skyrockets if your team is cohesive and moving forward towards a common goal.

#2 Welcome open communication and criticism

Although this detail was discussed in the previous point, it deserves a bit more elaboration owing to its importance.

If your team was recently formed or has a lot of generational gaps, some people might think twice before voicing their opinion during meetings. They might feel vulnerable once they have shared their thoughts or ideas. If you create an environment or culture that welcomes diverse ideas and create communication channels that are open, you can make them take more risks.

It is also important to build a team that welcomes constructive criticism. Although they are working as a team, they need to be evaluated individually to help them grow. They need to understand the difference between opinions and criticism.

“I had a team that did not know the difference between opinions and constructive criticism. Each person had a different style of working and if they saw output that differed, they made a fuss about it. For example, I might think only red apples are ripe, but you bring me green apples. The apples are still fresh and have a unique flavour of their own, but it is raw according to me! This in no way reflects your quality of work or the standard of the apple. It took us a long time to detect this culture and overcome it as a team,” said the CFO of a reputed email database agency in Bengaluru.

#3 Never let them stop growing and learning

The culture at your workspace must allow employees to grow and keep learning. Whether it is mentoring from you, nominating your team members for special training sessions, or job shadowing people from other departments, always keep a tab on your employee’s skill sets and personal goals. You can then choose the right learning for them based on personal and organisational goals.

With so many digital transformations and gaps in identifying and utilising skills, there is a need to train your employees better. They need to know how to navigate the current uncertain landscape. The team has to upskill themselves and learn quickly by supporting each other. This can be achieved through documentation tools and a growth mindset – you can establish the former, but the latter needs to be ingrained.

#4 Set clear deadlines and measurable goals

This is a critical step to building high performing teams as you are giving your employees the exact tasks they need to complete. Set measurable clear goals but don’t tell them the process to achieve them – that is up to them to determine. How they choose to reach the goal as a team will help them grow significantly. It leads to innovative ideas and new ways of working. 

For example, when someone on the team has a tedious task, you can pair them with a millennial who knows how to use the appropriate technology to complete it faster. The project manager of a popular IT company in Chennai was witness to this. He said, “I had assigned a task to a team member wherein I shared a WhatsApp image with her, and I wanted her to take the content from the image and add it to a Word document. The poor woman was sitting for hours and typing each word one by one. I paired her with a new joiner who was well-versed in technology, and she introduced us to Google Lens. She selected the text in the image using her phone and it appeared as typed content automatically! None of us knew about this tool despite its availability in all new smartphones. This is why we need to plan on which employees can be grouped together.” 

Make sure you also recognise and reward those who consistently exceed their goals. Nominate the team for team awards. This will keep the team motivated and they will work together so they can achieve together.

#5 Ensure your team is engaged and focused at all times

A team that performs well is energised and motivated to produce innovative and creative solutions. They feed off of each other’s energy rather than depending on external sources.

If your team is engaged and knows their responsibilities, you will generate a better return on investment and customer retention. You can gain more productivity with your team working to the best of their potential. They become leaders for each other and can hold each other accountable as they all have equal stakes in the results.

Summing up

The bottom line is trust. Trust gets built by incorporating these five ways and your team can feel more connected to each other. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and don’t take things personally when called out for their mistakes.

A high-performing team is motivated and independent with a lot of flexibility. They know how to make informed decisions and take reasonable risks – they are open to supporting and communicating with each other to reach mutual success. Their standard of client service is remarkable, and they use their skills wisely.

Click here to know how you can build a high performing team for long-term success.

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In my career leading and building high-performing teams, I enjoy inspiring & coaching employees to unlock their potential for maximum performance. The team's success is my deepest delight. Global Coaching Lab provides the platform to put this into practice every day and fulfill my passion of making others great.

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