Building a High Performing Team

"Anyone who has watched the Netflix documentary on Formula 1 - Drive to survive - will know that it takes more than a good driver to consistently win races. A slip up on changing a tyre can be the difference between 1st and 8th

Think about the team you are in and the one you lead; would you describe them as high performing teams? What is a high performing team anyway?

Here are some traits of ‘non’ high performing teams:

  • The team comes together, and each leader gives an update and then they walk away.
  • The leader tells the team members what they need to do
  • Some members of the team dominate discussions and others rarely speak.
  • Some members of the team are afraid to speak out on certain subjects.
  • Conflict is either personal or non-existent
  • There are varying levels of trust between colleagues and with the leader
  • Meetings tend to be unstructured, and most don’t see them as a good use of their time.

Any of that sound familiar?  When people complain about ‘too many meetings’ what they are really saying is ‘too many meetings that add no value’.

So how do you go about building a high performing team?

  1. Be clear why the team needs to come together to collaborate, what is your purpose as a team beyond just sharing information?  
  2. Be clear on the few (no more than 3) things that you will all collaborate on.  When I was at Mars this was Culture, talent development and organisational growth – Everyone had a stake in all 3 and they formed the basis of our agendas.
  3. Build trust in the team – This starts with the leader and will involve everyone giving each other feedback on the different elements of trust in 1 on 1 conversations.  Clarify your expectations of each other including of your leader.
  4. Clarify your ways of working – What meetings or forums will you have, what is the purpose of each, who needs to be there, how long will they be?
  5. Regularly review the above and adjust.

Building a high-performance team is an investment in your organisation and will lead to significant benefits when done well. If you need a hand let me know."

By Gerry Lynch – Managing Director of The Real Leadership Company.