Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Organizations innovate and create unique products and services by utilizing the combined experience, knowledge, and diverse thought of work teams.
The success of these teams is crucial to accomplishing business strategies and goals.
There are many dynamics when working with groups of people.
This is because we are all different, and when you get more than one person in a room, you have the potential for conflict.
This is why it is important to understand team dynamics and have a structured process to manage them.
The ability to successfully manage teams of people requires skill, diplomacy, and genuine care for members.
To do this, a team leader needs to understand how teams work.
7 Keys to High Performing Teams
1. Strong Team Leadership
Team success is the result of effective team leadership and a team sponsor.
A team or project sponsor is the person responsible for the overall success of the project the team is working on. This includes appointing team leaders, defining success criteria, and ensuring the successful delivery of the project.
The team leader is responsible for building a team and is committed to helping the team succeed.
Team leaders have a good understanding of their role and take that responsibility seriously.
They demonstrate team leader skills and fulfill their responsibilities in a professional manner.
These important team leaders recognize barriers to success and ensure that the necessary resources (people, time, and budget) are available for the team.
For instance, if there is a team working on the development of a new product or service, a team leader will work with management to ensure there are adequate resources to support team efforts. Whether that is funding for the project or employee time allotment.
Successful teams use a team charter to steer their direction and are committed to accomplishing team goals.
A team charter is a document that clarifies team direction while establishing boundaries. It is developed early during the forming of the team to encourage understanding and buy-in to the team project.
The team understands what it is they are trying to accomplish and works together to make sure, that what they set out to do, is done in an excellent manner and has a measure for success.
A specific measure allows the team to see that their efforts were achieved.
For example, if a team is chartered to reduce supply costs in the organization, a percentage of savings should be a written part of the goal.
3. Healthy Work Environment
Teams need to gain traction and momentum to get the work done.
Effective teams function best in a healthy work environment where all team members understand their boundaries and work without constraints to meet objectives.
It also means that the team does not tolerate, and removes, hostile team members who can derail and demoralize a team.
For example, if there is one team member who is consistently demonstrating negative behaviors, they should either be coached into appropriate behavior or removed from the team.
4. Open Communication and Open-Mindedness
Successful teams are open-minded and able to communicate freely.
They are well mannered and polite while sharing differing opinions – and have good communication skills.
Team members share their thoughts openly but are professional in how they communicate.
They are sensitive to the feelings of team members and respectfully listen to the thoughts and ideas of others.
Differences of opinion are shared without fear of judgment or unprofessional responses.
For example, team members should feel confident that if they share an idea that the rest of the team will listen and try to understand their thoughts.
When team members are fearful to share ideas, they could be holding on to the one idea that could result in a breakthrough for the team.
Encourage team openness.
5. Trust and Respect
Successful teams have mutual trust and respect for each other and are comfortable taking risks.
They value the diversity of the group and see conflict as a positive part of the process.
They know how to resolve conflict respectfully and value the differences they share.
Team members have a good understanding of their role on the team, the importance of their position, and what they bring to the table.
They share all thoughts and concerns in team meetings and don’t participate in conversations about the group outside the team meeting times.
For example, team members understand from team ground rules that talking outside of regular meeting times is discouraged to ensure members do not create a division among the group.
6. Strong Desire to Improve
Successful teams are constantly looking for ways to improve what they do and how they do it.
Team members see procedures and processes as moving targets that are constantly being changed and improved upon.
They use problem-solving tools to identify and solve internal problems.
For example, a team may use the FOCUS PDCA problem-solving method to improve internal systems and processes.
7. Self Managed
Teams that succeed hold themselves accountable for the tasks they have been charged with.
The team is accountable to itself and team members will challenge others who fail to meet expectations and deadlines.
For example, if a team member shows up to a meeting without completing his/her job assignments, other members will challenge them for not completing assigned tasks.
It is this peer pressure that keeps the team accountable.
Teams Are Important To Organizational Success
Businesses use teams to accomplish organizational goals. Selected workgroups complete the tasks required to get the team job done while drawing on the unique perspectives of team members.
Successful teams have strong leadership, a clear purpose, hold themselves accountable, and create a synergy that increases their effectiveness and ability to get things done.
How well do your teams function?