6 Tools for Building High Performance Teams
Building anything takes time and involves effort, resources, and yes, maybe even some blood, sweat, and tears. Producing high performance teams is no different. That’s why we call it Building High Performance Teams. Many professionals may think that building high performance teams begins with the hiring process; and yes, that is part of the process. However, laying the foundation begins long before that with your strategic planning process with the cornerstone being your vision, mission, and business philosophy.
Once those components are in place, then you can begin writing position descriptions for the tasks to help the job talk as to what it needs to function at an optimal level. Seeking the talent for those positions involves looking for a match in KSAs (knowledge, skills, and attributes). Remember that when you find the person with the right attitude and is a match for your vision, mission, and business philosophy, you can always train for skills. But that’s just the beginning.
Once you find talent, then the onboarding process must drive home the components from above along with policies, procedures, and cultural elements. Now you can begin working on each talent’s professional development and the training they need to meet your management and succession planning goals.
While it’s true that not everyone wants to be in management, finding leaders at every level in an organization is possible. Therefore, it’s important that your culture lends itself to opportunities for leadership. These include the freedom to contribute innovative ideas, try new things, and yes, to fail. This alone can lead teams to higher performance. Those who do aspire to management will require leadership training. This training needs to be available to the newest of managers all the way to the executive level. Some components to include are:
Trust: Without trust, you will never be able to build a high performing team. To build that trust you must:
- Build relationships. This doesn’t mean being bosom buddies but showing respect and appreciation for the individuality of each team member.
- Be willing to share your knowledge and expertise through training, coaching, and mentoring
- Consistency in keeping your word. In other words do what you say and walk the talk.
Assessments: The foundation of leadership is self-awareness. Assessments such as these provide feedback and insight not always seen as well as confirmation on other items. These powerful assessments allow for acquiring unbiased data. In addition, this creates information as to the individual’s alignment with organizational strategies.
Conflict: Good leaders do not look for or create conflict, but neither do they run from it. There is a myriad of difficult situations team leaders, managers, and equatives encounter daily. These can rum the gambit from miscommunication to more serious infractions. These situations require courage, fortitude, and a sense of fairness to resolve. High performing teams do not need to be free of conflict, however fair treatment leads to higher and better-quality productivity.
Performance Management: Good performance management is a continuous process and it too requires fairness as well as efficiency and effectiveness. Be sure you are setting goals in tandem with organizational goals and to use coaching as a tool to help motivate employees, achieve goals, and enhance performance. Another important tool is some type of project management tool as this helps keep everyone on the same page, on time, and in the loop. Remember to give and invite feedback so that everyone’s voice is heard. Continuous feedback vs just a once-a-year evaluation is better. In addition, it is wise to know the goals of each team member. For example, if you are trying to groom a team member for management and that is not a goal of theirs, you will waste time and resources, slow down productivity, and even create a negative environment.
Communication: Setting clear and reasonable expectations and then communicating them clearly is essential for success. Further, understand each team member’s communication style and what drives them. Everyone on the team should engage in active listening.
Diversity: Everyone understands that it’s essential to have the right numbers of team members as well as a diverse team of age, ethnicity, and gender. Also, be sure you have both top performers and some high potential team members. Then you will always have people in the pipeline for succession planning purposes.
As the team leader, your job is ensuring that every team member is in alignment with organizational goals, and understands his/her roles and responsibilities in achieving those goals.
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