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Building high-performing teams

Building high-performing teams

September 9, 2016 by Stella Petrou Concha

Teams are a constant on the commercial landscape. As such, it’s important to know how performance can be upped through management skills.

A well-integrated, high-performing team should always click, fitting together like numbers on a spreadsheet. When observers look to these teams, they can seem to have a life of their own, due to their self-sustaining nature.

High-impact leaders are engrossed in the performance management of their team.

While many people try to answer what it takes to build a high-performing team, too many look to leadership qualities as the sole driver. One of the world’s most successful companies instead believe it’s a combination of both group dynamics and effective leadership styles.

Google dynamics

Google offers employees perks other workers could only dream of. Whether it’s bringing their pets to work, getting sneak peeks of new products or free fitness classes, there is no doubt that work benefits can have an impact on employees.

However, the tech giant does not believe that these are essential to high-performing teams. Instead, they outlined five dynamics that set apart the successful from the not-so-successful. These are:

  1. Psychological safety: Taking risks without feeling insecure or vulnerable.
  2. Dependability: Count on each other to deliver on time and to standard.
  3. Structure and clarity: Well articulated goals, roles and plans.
  4. Meaning of work: Engagement with meaningful work.
  5. Impact of work: A belief that the work is important.

While Google believes all five dynamics are important, it placed extra emphasis on the psychological safety of team members. Underpinning the other four dynamics, it can facilitate the behaviours that may otherwise be stymied by negative member perceptions of each other.

However, these dynamics are not the only reason for high-performing teams. Leadership and management skills can also have an impact.

Please around a table having a meeting

A high-performing team is built on both leadership qualities and group dynamics.

High-impact leaders are still valuable

Whether it’s an executive team at a top finance company or a software development hub, high performing teams are built not found.

Europe-based Centre for Organizational Research found that in all their case studies, the teams that ‘click’ will always have a strong leader behind them. What this means is that high-impact leaders develop an environment characterised by clear operating principles and values that facilitate high performance.

Phil Harkins from Boston-based management consultant’s Linkage, believes there are four behaviours high-impact leaders exhibit:

  • Goals and vision setting that defines the organisation’s big picture.
  • Developing a tactical plan to achieve them.
  • Building trust through conversations.
  • Hiring and retaining the right people for the right roles.

High-impact leaders are a central component of successful teams. With the right focus, leaders can not only create safe-spaces to take risks, they can also develop an environment that builds on the goals and vision of the organisation. If you don’t trust me, Google it!


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