10 key skills for developing a high-performing team

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As team leaders, we are often searching for how we can create teams that can get the job done and how to retain our employees. But if this is all we’re ever striving for, aren’t we just striving to maintain mediocrity?

Finding a team that works and will stay is not always easy. Creating a high-performance culture will yield more lasting results and impact our companies in the long run. 

How often have we found ourselves in teams that are unmotivated, uninteresting and overall underwhelming? This level of expectation causes teams to only put in the work required of them. Employees and organizations will only give what they feel will be satisfactory unless someone calls them to a higher standard. 

Additionally, until we hold our teams to a higher standard, they will never know what it is like to build endurance or work at their highest capacity. When we’re not creating a high-performing atmosphere, we’re not only doing our businesses a disservice, but we are also doing our teams a disservice. Those under our leadership are unable to discover their true potential and strengths that healthy team building often reveals. 

If we can focus on building a high-performance culture, we are bound to develop teams that will not only last but thrive. 

Here are ten key skills for developing high-performing teams:

  1. Create a culture of conversation. In business, we must be direct and straight to the point. But it is also vital that team members know each other and feel at ease to converse with you and their colleagues. Begin the conversation, and be an example for your team to interact and connect with one another. 

  2. Deal with conflict immediately and directly. Whenever there is an elephant in the room, everyone can see it and they can feel it. Conflicts remain and threaten to cause more problems until they are addressed. Rather than wait, tackle these issues immediately and directly with your entire team, so that no questions are left up in the air. 

  3. Maintain the trust of your organization. Just as every relationship is built on trust, every team is built on trust. For a team to be highly-motivated, productive and compatible, deep residing trust is vital. 

  4. Be open to unexpected conversations and meetings. When there are issues within your team or individuals need a moment of your time, be open and flexible. This open communication builds trust, a safe space and encourages your team that you will be there for them when they need you. 

  5. Build a culture of respect. Respect offers confidence and regard within a group. Ingrain words of respect, honor and positivity when communicating with your team. Uphold each individual to this type of verbiage and attitude. 

  6. Spot team players who aren’t playing. Team members who aren’t holding their own weight will hold your team back. Keep your eyes open for those that may be affecting the overall efficiency and productivity of your team, and hold them to a higher standard.

  7. Spot team players who are MVPs. Give credit where credit is due. When an employee goes above and beyond the status quo, acknowledge it and audibly praise them for it. This will encourage high-performing team members to continue striving for the best and help the rest of the team to follow suit. 

  8. Create a culture of feedback. When there are projects that fail, make time to discuss it. When there are new plans that soar, create time for feedback. The more your team can discuss what went wrong and what went right, the more you can have a clear, unified vision. 

  9. Hold your team members accountable as a team. Just as in any sport, when one team member fails, the whole team fails. Make sure to include and address your entire team in moments of instruction. These are the moments when you can remind everyone of exactly where the bar is set. 

  10. Invest in team building. Show your team you believe in building them by fiscally investing in them. Invest in conferences that engage their fields or materials that may sharpen their skills. Invest in moments to grow together, as well as in moments to celebrate together.

Allowing our teams to be subpar is unacceptable. But allowing them to remain average is quite normal.  

So, ask yourself, are you okay with average? Or are you ready to create a team that can accomplish more?

While creating high-performing teams will require more of us, its investment will always return to us tenfold. If we can put the work in at the beginning, we can create a culture that encourages people to work at their best and also attracts high-performing employees. 

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