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How to build a high performing team

Creating and transferring culture virtually has left some companies thriving, while others have found their culture falling flat. It has been a challenging time, guiding your team through this unfamiliar landscape. For more information on this topic, download our latest booklet 'Building and maintaining a high performing team' or contact one of our team here.

As the dust begins to settle, and everyone has become more comfortable with remote working our focus has changed towards more commercial goals. Keeping your team on task and helping them be productive and efficient. How do you build a high-performing culture?


What does a high-performing team look like?

All high-performing teams have these three things in common

  • Absolute clarity of purpose

  • Strong behavioural frameworks

  • Genuine relationships and communication

 In order to have a high-performing team that works cohesively together, you need to foster an environment where each team member feels they can count on one another and that their work has purpose. 


The team dynamics can be summarised within these 5 keystones:

  1. The team can take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed

  2. The ability to count on each other to do high-quality work

  3. Working with clearly defined goals, roles, and execution plans

  4. The work is personally important to everybody on the team

  5. Everybody on the team fundamentally believes that their work matters

How is your team performing now?

To help nurture your team to reach their full potential it is important to identify your teams stages of development.

There are 4 main stages for development within your team, and the stages are ever-changing. Should someone leave or be promoted the team regresses back to the first stage “Forming”, needing different leadership tactics to lead the team back to higher performance.

People in a meeting

People are unsettled in their roles, there’s uncertainty around how their role fits into the team. There’s an air of anxiety and frustration with people more likely to shift the blame to others than take personal responsibility and hold themselves accountable.

Woman with head on desk

Lots of disagreements around goals and confusion about who is doing what. People actively “protect” their space. There’s a common theme of low levels of trust and cliques become more evident.

People working together

Performance is good, not yet exceptional. The codes of behaviour are established, confusion is reduced, and trust levels are rising. People are ‘too’ nice, treading on eggshells trying not to upset the status quo. The team’s performance is slightly stifled as the team is not yet able to hold honest constructive conversations to take their performance to the next level. 

Woman with laptop and arms in the air

Your team are innovative they seek to improve themselves and the team and most importantly they are able to receive constructive and incredibly honest feedback from each other. They are happy to challenge and be challenged on issues and work together to find the most effective solution. 

How to transition through the stages of team development

The stages of development are not definitive and can regress should anyone’s role change within the team. The art of a high-performing team is to transition between the stages to return to the “Performing” stage as quickly as possible. This is where the team leader plays a pivotal role in helping the team navigate these stages as quickly as possible with confidence. It is suggested that 1:1’s are more effective until you make your way to the “Norming” stage where your team can each contribute and engage in real conversations in a team meeting. 


Encourage the right level of openness

Creating a culture of openness allows your team to engage in real conversations. Encourage your team to show courage: Courage to share what they are thinking and feeling, and courage to listen when others are sharing. 


It’s all about people

People are at the key of any high-performing team. It’s important for your people to know their personality preferences and take responsibility for how they are going to engage with others in order to bring out the best in their colleagues as well as themselves.

​Individual personalities play a significant role in determining team performance. In particular, personality affects:

  • What role you have within the team

  • How you interact with the rest of the team

  • Whether your values (core beliefs) align with the team’s

 By ensuring you have diversity of thought and personality you can create a well-balanced team.

"Ensure objectives are clear, set goals, check in regularly and celebrate wins."
- Adam Forster, MD Ambition Australia

Engage in the right conversations

As a manager, you need to pave the way for ‘real’ conversations which build high-performing teams. These conversations bring truthfulness, complete trust and openness throughout the team, eliminating politics and games.


Inspire the right behaviours.

When building high-performing teams, it is critical to recognise you will only ever be as good as your weakest link. Accountability must be established for each individual to bring the commitment and the discipline to show the behaviours that align with high performance.


For more information on this topic, download our latest booklet 'Building and maintaining a high performing team'.

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