Characteristics of truly high performing teams
11th April 2023
Much is written about high performance, but what does it actually mean in the workplace and, how can you tell a high performing team from an average one?
High performing teams pull together and maximise the unique skill set of its members, each of whom know the part they play in working with their colleagues to achieve consistently exceptional standards and results.
In my many years of working with and supporting teams in various industries, I’ve observed that creating a team like this boils down to one thing – extraordinary leaders, who create strength in the concept of togetherness. THIS is their competitive advantage.
High performing teams are characterised by:
1. A shared goal
Regardless of one’s job or role in the organisation, everyone in the team put aside their own interests and search for individual glory, instead focusing on the part they play in achieving the team outcome. Team members are rewarded on the collective outcome rather than individual targets, by drawing from what they bring to the team. The shared goal is widely communicated and made meaningful through translation into day-to-day activity, however small it may seem. We have perhaps all heard that story about the cleaner who was putting a man on the moon, right? It’s that.
2. Shared mindset, values and beliefs
A shared approach on how to achieve what’s required, with values acting as a code for how team members work together, as well as a set of agreed norms. In other words, everyone knows what’s ok and what isn’t and the same rules apply to everyone. No one is bigger than the team.
3. A sense of trust and belonging
Clarity on the shared goal and approach, as well as the value you bring to the team, helps to foster a sense of belonging, in turn, creating trust, meaning that your energy and focus is on the job in hand, rather than insecurities about whether you fit in, which is particularly key for newer members.
4. Responsibility towards each other
A fear of letting each other or the team down, drives what happens, rather than letting the leader down. Individuals depend on each other and are accountable to each other. In high performing teams, individuals are more afraid of letting their colleagues down, than the leader (who, because they’re exceptional, I’d argue would agree that team interests come first, anyway)
5. Continuous improvement and psychological safety
We’re always learning, no question is a bad question, more is learnt from innovation and what goes wrong, over what goes right. I’m not suggesting that teams deliberately go out to get things wrong, but that calculated, informed risks are taken, on the basis that changes can and will be made along the way. Processes are optimised to support agility and the need to make changes along the way. A mantra of progress over perfection is key here.
About the author
Written by Nav Matharu, Director and Senior Consultant – Core Connection HR
If you want to learn more about how to create a culture of high performance in your business, contact Nav via LinkedIn or go to www.coreconnectionhr.co.uk
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