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How to Develop a High-Performance Work Team

It’s important to note that high-performance work teams don’t form on their own, but are brought out by good leadership and intentional groundwork. 

What qualifies a high-performing work team? This is relative, but can be generally summarised by key characteristics, as follows: 

  • Fervent focus on goals and achieving superior results
  • A culture that encourages innovation
  • Clear and concise deadlines that are consistently met
  • A foundation of trust and respect
  • Strong communication skills that encourage positive feedback and criticism
  • A strong understanding of the team’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Dedication to outperform the average expectations

If we analyse high-performing teams, a clear common thread we can see throughout, highlights the importance of reflecting on where team members can offer the most value. This goes hand in hand with defining how each employee’s strengths can complement one anothers’. For instance, a successful team can’t be built of just employees who are good at researching, or consist of a group of rampant creatives. A high-performing team needs a driver, an innovator, someone who will keep productivity in-check, an intellectual, a networker, and various other critical roles. It’s important you seek out a team that can bring various skills to the table.

What Are the Benefits of a High-Performance Team?

Let’s talk about why you should be putting your resources into creating a high-performance team. If your objective is to solve and execute complex problems, you need a team who is top-of-their-game. With a high-performance team, you can expect enhanced creativity and independent, flexible innovators who are willing to take risks. 

With an eagerness to take risks – no matter how calculated – you must also be prepared to fail at times. However, with a team of ambitious workers, you will likely fail ‘quickly’. Failure is inevitable, no matter the circumstances. This is why it’s critical that you develop a team who will pick up and keep moving forward, having learnt from past mistakes. Alternatively, you will end up managing a team who can never fully recover, or who take dangerously long to recover from losses.

How Can You Develop a High-Performance Team?

Take ownership

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Like I said before, high-performance teams don’t form themselves. Leaders need to go before the team and put structures and values in place that develop their employees. The diagram above portrays it perfectly. These crucial pillars need to be solid before you see results, and I’d like to highlight a few:

  • Shared purpose is essential. Leaders and executives need to put clear goals and strategies in place for employees to know what’s expected of them. 
  • With this, comes the importance of clear roles and responsibilities. Team members need to know how their role contributes to meeting the team’s KPI’s. 
  • Effective processes and clear communication is vital to the success of a team. Without it, your goals are flimsy and unattainable.
  • Lastly – rounding all of these off – there needs to be trust. Developing a high-performance team is close to impossible when micromanaging. Employees need to trust their leaders and their intentions, and just as importantly, leaders need to trust their team. If there is no trust, you can’t hand over responsibility, and if you can’t hand over responsibility, you will never see results. 

Prioritise training

How can training help? If you want to develop a team that achieves high-performing results, training is not optional, but a prerequisite. Training and development will ensure a culture of continuous learning, and put into place individual learning journeys for uniquely skilled employees. Training is there to work with you to define smart goals and objectives that become learning processes. Your employees need to become confident in more than just their technical skills, but in core skills that make communication and collaboration a culture. 

In order to flourish as a team – and succeedingly as a business – training needs to be a part of your systems, rather than a complement. Summit has seen many businesses succeed, through developing teams that achieve results beyond expectations. Get in touch with us today, and let’s add you to that list. 

About the Author 

Sunel de Coning, Head: Sales and Operations for Summit

Sunel has a passion for making teams more productive and business more successful. A business strategist and marketer by profession, she strives to develop innovative plans and activities designed to facilitate competitive growth, juggling different projects, in the pursuit of achieving tight deadlines and quality deliverables.

With her dynamic approach to leadership, big-picture thinker, catalyst for change and innovator – she brings to the team extensive experience in marketing, sales, operational management and agile project management. With over 24 years’ experience in the education and training sector she developed and executed numerous strategic and commercial growth initiatives in pursuit of sustainable business value.

She has great enthusiasm for innovation and loves the journey from uncovering insights to the creation of new business. With her drive to stay ahead of the game, she works closely with the executive team on how to build innovative practices and innovative solutions to achieve the highest level of growth and customer satisfaction.