4 key characteristics of high-performing teams

Building a high performing team is building the foundations of a successful business. Without excellent communication, cohesion and collaboration between your people, you can’t hope to be truly productive and profitable. 

There are a few different models and you’ll come across exhaustive lists of things your teams should and shouldn’t be doing to be successful. We think that this can be more helpfully boiled down to 4 key characteristics of high performing teams. 

 

Clear direction

High performing teams are on the journey with you. Your teams should be clear on the vision and values of the wider business and their department/team. They should be clear on how they get there, and how they get there together. Along with this, they should also understand how what they do fits into the wider mission of the business – each having a clear, defined role within the team and within the organisation. Strong communication is crucial to achieving this. This involves producing key documentation like policies, procedures, handbooks, and at the very least, keeping contracts and job descriptions up to date. From there, you should focus on having regular sessions where you update your team on strategy, vision and progress. 

 

Trust and respect

Building trust and respect in your teams could be a whole other blog post by itself. It’s perhaps the most important aspect of building a strong team. People in high-trust companies are found to experience 74% less stress and be 50% more productive. High performing teams are built on strong bonds and good relationships – both within their teams and with leadership. They trust and respect each other, and they trust and respect their leaders. It also goes both ways – leaders must place trust in their teams and respect their views and individual needs in order to build that all-important respect. The old cliché – “you don’t demand respect, you earn it” – is key here. This environment of trust and respect will help your team to feel safe enough to take risks together and share ideas, which most likely will lead to innovation and positive change within your business. It’s also important to actively move away from “blame and shame” culture – encourage your team to treat every mistake as a learning opportunity. 

 

Engagement

Studies have shown that highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. By involving your team members in setting the direction of the team and the business and asking them what they want to see from the business is a great way to do this. Anonymous surveys are a start, but building real engagement on a foundation of trust and respect should mean that your employees feel they can proactively come to you directly with suggestions or feedback. Engagement is key to wellness which circles back to encouraging high-performance. Again, it goes both ways86% of HR leaders running an employee recognition program say it helps with employee relationships, and 85% say it helps with overall organisational culture. 

 

Always learning

High performing teams practice continuous learning and development. Not only that, but they accept a culture of continuous learning, acknowledging that no one can know everything about their role or discipline, and embrace taking every opportunity to learn or grow their expertise. They also lean on each other to share knowledge and delegate or distribute tasks based on their individual strengths. Not only does continuous learning ensure that they are the best that they can be in their current roles, it also gives them opportunity to grow and progress, which helps both with retention and attracting new talent. 76% of employees say that a company would be more appealing to work for if they offered additional skills training. 34% of employees who left their previous jobs, did so to pursue better career development opportunities. 

 

Talk Staff can help you build high performing teams. We support businesses with employee engagement, culture, retention, attraction and provide a whole host of HR support and consultancy services. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch

Author: Gary Parsons
Gary is MD & Co-Founder at Talk Staff, passionate about the role that people play in helping build long-term and sustainable businesses. He sits on local business advisory boards and has been key in leading the growth of Talk Staff from inception in 2009.
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