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Monday, May 19, 2014

Five Behaviors of High Performing Teams

My work as a Team Building Consultant in the Philippines gave me opportunity to study and work with hundreds of teams.  I was able to compare those who are working well from those who are stuck. Here are my observations on the teams that work well together to achieve results.

1. Everybody has the same understanding of the goal and strategy. Many teams suffer from lack of buy-in and clarity. This is because many leaders exercise little effort to engage employees in goal setting and strategizing. In many teams, strategies are cascaded as work instructions, hence team members find it hard to connect what they do with the organizational goals.  High performing teams don't have this problem. You can ask team members individually and they will have the same answer. They can also explain how their tasks and initiatives connect with the team's goals and strategies and are excited about how they are contributing.

2. Team members are both compelled and motivated to do a better job - It's easy to lose sight of one's sense of purpose when people are paid based on the amount of time they spend at work rather than what they contribute.  In a high performing team, members are frequently reminded of the high expectations the team have of them. The reminders come straight from team mates who make each other accountable for their performance and behavior. A high performing team is a bad place to be for uncommitted team members. They either change their attitude or leave (removed from) the team.


3. Team meetings are productive. -when the environment is safe for collaboration, when coercive influences are absent or lowered to a point, team members engage in conversations that help the team identify improvement areas and strategies. The team has better acuity of the situation because people do not hesitate to share what they see, their experiences and ideas for solutions. They are also not shy to ask questions or clarify their understandings. The team is not hindered by people who pretend to understand or agree.

4. People strive to see better results  - a high performing team is interested in team scores. They have an appropriate emotion for hitting targets or failing. Team scores have a big effect on them. They celebrate, get upset, re-strategize and try harder.

5. Problems and issues are identified and addressed quickly - There's no elephant in the room for high performing teams. Team issues are discussed and solved in meetings, individual issues are discussed with individuals and resolved as quickly as possible. Because of this, the team is rarely hindered by conflicts and issues that prevent members from  working effectively with each other.

Two things are critical to achieving this level if team maturity; leaders who are keen on building this high performance culture, and a team that's on the same page with the leader in building it.

See ExeQserve's strategy for helping leaders of organizations build aligned and high performing teams.

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