High‐performance teams don’t just appear; they are developed and nurtured. By themselves, leaders with vision cannot guarantee the development of such high‐performance teams, nor can members who desire to be part of such teams. The development of high‐performance teams takes the combined efforts of visionary leaders and motivated team members. In addition, facilitators with expertise in team building are needed. The following lists the characteristics that comprise high‐performance teams:
- The team has a common focus, including clear and understandable goals, plans of action, and ways to measure success.
- Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined for each team member.
- Each member has clearly defined expectations of other members.
- The team fully utilizes its resources—both internal and external.
- Members value each other’s differences in healthy and productive ways.
- Each member is able to give, receive, and elicit necessary feedback.
- The team members manage their meetings in a productive way.
- The team is able to reach goals by achieving the necessary results.
To build an effective team, a leader needs to establish an organizational environment in which individual team members can reflect upon and analyze relationships with other team members. A leader should encourage the resolution of any conflicts through healthy, professional confrontation, and willingly and openly negotiate necessary changes. In short, effective leaders are cheerleaders for the team; they encourage and support members who are committed and actively involved with their teams and engage those members who aren’t participating.
Several factors within an organization itself influence team effectiveness, including its organizational culture, level of autonomy, and types of feedback mechanisms. But the factors that influence the effectiveness of a team most directly stem from its internal structure and processes.
- Structural factors include team or group type, size, and composition of skills and abilities.
- Team processes include stages of team development, cultural norms, roles cohesiveness, and interpersonal processes such as trust development, facilitation, influence, leadership communication, and conflict resolution.
To judge the effectiveness of their teams, leaders need to examine their teams’ performances and personal outcomes. Performance outcomes may be measured by products made, ideas generated, customers served, numbers of defects per thousand items produced, overtime hours, items sold, and customer satisfaction levels. Personal outcomes may be measured by employee satisfaction, commitment, and willingness of members to stay on the team. Both outcomes are important for the long‐term viability as well Try these 9 powerful ways to keep the members of your team motivated and giving their very best on the job.
1. Pay your people what they are worth
When you set your employees’ salaries, be sure that their pay is consistent with what other companies in your industry and geographic area are paying. Remember: 26 percent of engaged employees say that they would leave their current job for just a 5 percent increase in pay. Don’t lose great people because you’re underpaying them.
2. Provide them with a pleasant place to work
Everyone wants to work in an office environment that is clean and stimulating, and that makes them feel good instead of bad. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an office a more pleasant place to be.
3. Offer opportunities for self-development
The members of your team will be more valuable to your organization, and to themselves, when they have opportunities to learn new skills. Provide your team with the training they need to advance in their careers and to become knowledgeable about the latest technologies and industry news.
4. Foster collaboration within the team
According to theintactone.com, 39 percent of employees don’t feel that their input is appreciated. Encourage the members of your team to fully participate by inviting their input and suggestions on how to do things better. Ask questions, listen to their answers, and, whenever possible, implement their solutions.
5. Encourage happiness
Happy employees are enthusiastic and positive members of the team, and their attitude is infectious. Keep an eye on whether or not your people are happy with their work, their employer, and you. If they’re not, you can count on this unhappiness to spread.
6. Don’t punish failure
We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. The key is to learn valuable lessons from those mistakes so we don’t make them again. When members of your team make honest mistakes, don’t punish them–instead, encourage them to try again.
7. Set clear goals
In one study, 63 percent of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren’t aware of what work was a priority, and what wasn’t. As a leader, it’s your job to work with the members of your team to set clear goals. And once you do that, make sure everyone knows exactly what those goals are, what their relative priority is, and what the team’s role is in reaching them.
8. Don’t micromanage
No one likes a boss who is constantly looking over her shoulder and second-guessing her every decision. In fact, 38 percent of employees in one survey reported that they would rather take on unpleasant activities than sit next to a micromanaging boss. Provide your people with clear goals (see number 7, above), and then let them figure out the best way to achieve them.
9. Avoid useless meetings
Meetings can be an incredible waste of time–the average professional wastes 3.8 hours in unproductive meetings each and every week. Create an agenda for your meetings and distribute it in advance. Invite only the people who really need to attend, start the meeting on time, and then end it as quickly as you possibly can.