A team is at the heart of what creates business success. Individual performers are important but it is only through team effort that organizations are able to reach the heights they aspire for. That is why many organizations focus on trying to understand what motivates teams and apply those ideas.
So shifting the gear of strategic performance management from person to team is the future of our workplaces. Let us see some unique traits that high performing teams demonstrate so that we can use those to empower our own teams to do the same.
- Constructive Conflict Management – All teams have friction, conflict and difference of opinions. The biggest challenge is to manage this conflict constructively. High performing teams are able to be positive and non-combative when it comes to these situations. They are able to handle negative feedback about themselves with resilience and work towards doing better next time.
- Solutions, Not Problems – High performing teams focus on solutions and results, not on the problems. They spend time brainstorming and thinking through the issue at hand, but they spend more time working towards the solutions that are needed and the outcomes that are expected from them.
- Peer-to-Peer Mentoring– Mentoring each other or mentoring sideways is a crucial ingredient in the success of these teams. Individuals are competitive by nature, but knowing how to focus on healthy competition and yet connecting with team members, to deliver results is a unique trait. Achieving the required results is about team members empathizing with each other especially when someone in the team is having challenges.
- Respect for Diversity of Thought – We all come from varied backgrounds and have different perspectives. Respect for the diversity of thought that such a team brings is what holds it together. This respect exists irrespective of gender, culture, age, language and so on. So that inclusion is what makes a particular team perform much better than others. If we as team members focus on understanding each other’s views and put aside our inherent, subconscious biases related to them, our total performance is definitely going to increase.
- Empowered and Innovative Thinking – Teams which are able to open their minds up to new and different ideas are bound to perform better. They have the ability to think out-of-the-box and the courage to take it to completion. So innovative, courageous teams are the ones that perform far better. The solutions they come up with or the methods they use to deliver work are innovative. They are driven by the desire to achieve their goals, even if it means choosing non-traditional ways.
- Forward-Thinking – A high performing team is one which is able to show foresight in anticipating the challenges that might arise when they are working on something. As a result of that, they are able to determine or at least discuss possible solutions or courses of action, should such a crisis arise. So they are forward-thinking and future-focused. It also reflects how the team is efficient at handling crisis and managing it well.
- Collectively Accountable – No one passes the buck or puts the blame on someone else for mistakes that take place. Being collectively accountable is a big differentiator between a team that performs and a team that does not. Individuals do make mistakes but when the team takes it upon itself to rectify it and give the client the right results, the outcome is superlative performance. This also leads to proactive behavior.
- Joint Decision Making – There is a definite manager or team leader who drives the team. Even so, the team works towards taking all decisions jointly. There might be disagreements while reaching a consensus on that decision, but as and when the final decision is being taken the team members are able to share their perspectives freely. The leader also makes the effort to get everyone to understand why the decision was taken.
- Powerful Leadership – A good team becomes great due to a powerful leader. The leader is able to steer the team in the right direction, harness each person’s strengths, allocate the work as per whose good at it and address conflicts in a timely and mature way. That is why a team performs well. Not only that, the leader does his or her share of the work and also makes sure to take on responsibility, instead of simply delegating all the work. A leader fosters the team’s strengths instead of humiliating it for its faults.
These are some unique traits that a high performing team has and which puts it at a competitive advantage. Many organizations have focused on inculcating these into their teams, and with great success. The effect these traits have on team performance is now being recognized.