High Performing Teams have particular characteristics that make them high performing. In teamwork sessions I always start with asking participant groups to list the characteristics and they prove every time, they know what it takes to makes high performing teams, high performing. If we all know what it takes, what goes wrong?
This morning, I worked with a wonderful group of health care professionals. These professionals have a critical mission – caring for patients in Intensive Care. Their ability to perform as a high performing team can literally be the difference in life and death for patients in their care. When asked for a list of characteristics of high performing teams, their lists were so good they could be published!
So if we all know what characteristics make high performing teams, what is it that gets in the way? All the usual suspects.
- Communication is always an issue. We are learning to practice deliberate and redundant communication to help solve problems on teams. Team members must practice active listening, understand that people have different communication styles, and take responsibility for ensuring their message is heard, understood, and properly interpreted.
- Accountability can be a very personal issue. In teams, there are sometimes people who are seen as “lazy.” They don’t “pull their weight.” Often, people are willing to point them out but don’t realize that accountability is actually a team issue. In high performing teams, there is no problem with calling out unproductive behavior. Each individual works for the good of the team and wants to be part of the solution – not part of the problem.
- Trust is hard to earn. Trust is eroded when we fail to call people out on unproductive behavior. Chances are, many folks who are committing these crimes don’t know they have been judged as guilty. They best way to improve trust is to communicate – get to know each other – discuss problems. Know that in high performing teams, productive conflict is good! Teams who are not afraid of conflict have productive meetings, generate great ideas and solutions, and are creative.
- Commitment is essential. Everyone must be committed to the same mission and believe in it. Sometimes people lose their personal commitment and really have to struggle to decide whether they are in the right job. If the commitment to the mission is gone, and you can’t get it back, you should probably be gone too. Sometimes people become confused about the mission. Teams must keep their mission out front and make sure it is clearly understood by all.
- Achieving great results is always the focus for high performing teams and they consistently find ways to solve difficult problems. They challenge the status quo, they challenge each other, and they consistently perform at a high level. Members of high performing teams consider what is best for the team, above all else.
If your team needs help, I can design and deliver a program customized to your needs. Sometimes just a couple of hours will go a long way toward making team members self-aware. Many know what needs to happen and just need a structured opportunity to put things in perspective.