How to build a high performing team

We scribe on all things HR to add value to your organisation

by | Jul 7, 2020

At Red Wagon Workplace Solutions, we’re often asked about how to create a successful dynamic within a leadership team. It’s one of the most sought after features, yet remains one of the trickiest to acquire.

 

The success of any company, and that of its leader, can only be enabled with a high performing team.

It’s often said that the hardest part of being in any leadership position is managing employees and colleagues with whom you work. Employees, whilst any company’s greatest asset, can also present several challenges which can enable or hinder growth both individually and when working collaboratively as a group.

A high performing team is a group of highly focused individuals working collaboratively and effectively on aligned goals, who achieve superior business results. It’s no surprise that there is a 1.9 times increased likelihood of having an above median financial performance when a top team works together (McKinsey.com) and the competitive advantages of a top unit are well documented.

Addressing the challenge of how to build such a team, requires that we look at a few different factors which make up the composition of a team.

Organisations with truly successful teams are comprised of a diverse group of professionals, in skillset, mindset and in diversity of background. Rich diversity allows the foundations of the group to be built securely, to be the anchor of the principles and goals on which success is built.  Talent pools grouped too closely in terms of skill and mindset may contribute to ‘group think’ and fail to deliver ground-breaking or innovative growth, a team comprised of mavericks will similarly fail to deliver the desired outcome.

This preliminary stage of selecting your talent should be a period of careful consideration, as frequent people movements once will be to the detriment of results and commercial outcomes.

The recipe to create a strong team is not just formed of one ingredient, rather several key, critical elements which must be formulated into a strategic plan of action. Trust within an organisation is the key to delivery and exceeding growth targets. Patrick Lencioni, the American best-selling author on business states “Trust, done right, stabilises and accelerates impact” and of course, he’s correct. Trust enables vulnerability and referring to my last post on the critical nature of vulnerability in a leadership team, without exposing your humanity, frustrations cannot be aired, mistakes cannot be owned up to resulting in solutions to problems unable to be sought.

Lencioni’s five dysfunctions of a team connects a positive trusting environment to embracing conflict in a glass is half full way. Robust, active meetings are a positive step in involving all members of the team and in embracing the depth and variety of opinion in a top performing group. Each employee needs to feel as though they have equity in discussions, they need to actively buy into commercial direction and decisions in order to feel committed. Lencioni helps leadership teams to realise that if their personnel don’t feel committed, they are highly unlikely to feel accountable for their actions and behaviours. What happens if teams don’t feel accountable? The answer is simple, they simply don’t take ownership – not of mistakes, not of ensuring they play their part nor of holding one another responsible for their actions. In short, progress isn’t made. Goals aren’t reached. Results, both financial and strategic aren’t achieved.

Now could be the right time to build or reset your team. Open the flow of communication, listen to those around you and be open to change. After all, there’s nothing more powerful than a top down approach, showcasing the competitive advantage of a high performing team.

For guidance in how to strengthen the leadership qualities of your team, call or message Susan at Red Wagon Workplace Solutions for an initial consult.

About the author

As President and South Australian State Councillor of the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), Susan is a valued advisor and thought leader to her clients and the HR community. Maintaining an extensive understanding of employment law and business acumen through her work and connectivity to the AHRI and the business community, Susan is a master at finding innovative people orientated solutions, carefully balanced with the commercial reality.

 

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