How to Create a High Performing Team
One goal all leaders should have is to build a high performing team and help them succeed. After all, a leader is judged on their ability to produce results. The complexity arises because those results are usually produced by the team, not directly by the leader. That’s what leadership is all about though, driving performance and growing a team that can take on any challenge and deliver results.
You’re dealing with competing personalities, different skill sets and a range of issues both personal and performance-based. So, how do you actually build this elusive high performing team? Managing people is slightly different for every team, however these universal tips should help you build a team with a winning culture.
Smart Recruiting Comes First
The first step to building a great team is finding the right people. You should start by clearly identifying the skills and experience you need. If your team is made up of several different roles, make sure you can fill those roles with experts in their field. If you want new recruits to have an instant impact, ensure they have the exact skills and experience to hit the ground running.
In contrast, if you need entry-level staff, you should have a clear picture of what the perfect recruit looks like. For these types of employees, personality traits such as work ethic, determination and willingness to learn might be more important.
Ultimately, the perfect recruits are different depending on your perspective as a leader, but make sure you have clearly defined requirements and stick to them when building your team.
Set Clear Team Performance Expectations
When leading high performing teams, it’s important to draw a line between individual expectations and team goals. In order to foster a sense of togetherness and a culture of teamwork, it’s always best to set performance metrics for the entire team. You’ll obviously need individual accountabilities below that; however, the focus should always be on what you’re trying to achieve as a team.
If teams aren’t performing, this approach can sometimes lead to finger-pointing, however that’s what you have your individual KPIs for. You can still manage individual performance, but building a culture of teamwork requires a broader approach to goal-setting.
Use Surveys to Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Data always plays a key role in important business decisions, and the same is true when you’re trying to build a high performing team. Without data, it’s like trying to build a house without knowing what any of your tools can do.
Identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities is crucial to achieving success. Try using some of these organisational surveys to harness the power of the people in your team.
A SWOT Analysis asks survey participants to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can do this with individuals, or ask them to assess the SWOT for the whole team. Both can be effective in generating discussion and ideas on how to improve.
Teams surveys are a flexible way to gather information about how your team members feel the team is performing.
360 Degree Feedback
As a leader, you should be open to feedback from your staff. Ask your team members to participate in 360-degree feedback, and give them a voice to assess your performance as a leader. It’s a great way to identify what matters to your team, and how you can deliver it to create a more dynamic work environment. You can learn more about the benefits of 360 feedback here.
Employee surveys are great for measuring staff engagement. Engaged staff are far more likely to deliver excellence, so there’s a huge benefit in keeping them happy. Pulse surveys give you a good picture of what your organisation can do to improve staff engagement, and hence increase performance.
Much like 360-degree feedback, a board assessment is designed to measure the performance of a company’s board in it’s entirety.
Net Promoter Score® Survey
Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) is a more customer-focused survey. It measures the percentage of customers likely to promote your business actively among friends and family. By sharing the results with your team, you can make them feel involved in the process of increasing customer satisfaction.
Create Clearly Defined Roles and Manage Performance Accordingly
Finally, make sure you’re giving everybody in the team a clearly defined role. Naturally, you want everybody working together towards a common goal, however performance management is difficult if people have no individual accountability. It doesn’t mean people can’t lean on each other and work together on tasks, but it means that individuals should have personal responsibility too.
High performing teams don’t happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work, great leadership, and finding innovative ways to keep people engaged. Following the steps above will make it much easier to build your ‘dream team’, and take them on a journey of achievement, success and celebration.
Ensure your Team has Balance
According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity to be an important factor when applying for jobs. That’s because diversity is important to a lot of people on a social level. From a business point of view, if you want to keep building high performing teams, you’re likely to attract better talent if your workplace is diverse.
But the benefits of diversity goes a lot further than that. If you want an even more business-centric case for building a team with diverse skills and experience, consider that McKinsey has found diverse workforces outperform industry standards by 35%. Decision making improves when you have a diverse team, because you’re getting different points of view. For those more interested in the bottom line, diverse management teams have been found to make more revenue.
Let Your Team Innovate
When people are allowed some autonomy over how they do their job, they usually perform a lot better. Restrictive rules and inflexible processes are a great way to dull the enthusiasm of your team members.
People like to be challenged, and you’ll find most people thrive when they have a goal to work towards. Rather than telling your teams exactly what they need to do, why not include them in the planning? You may have a pre-defined end goal, but get your team thinking about the steps required to get there. Allow them to innovate and solve problems as a team, because it not only produces great results but builds a team performance culture.
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