Last week, I wrote about the critical role of the team leader in a high performance team. The question often emerges, “So what does the team do?” The correct answer: it depends. It depends on the purpose of the team, their composition, their competency, their level of maturity, etc. However, you can often find some common behaviors in the best teams. I’ve written more extensively about this in my book, The Secret of Teams. For today’s post, here’s my top five list.
High Performance Teams…
Manage the day-to-day operation – Who runs the operation? If the answer is the leader, that’s not a bad thing – just an indication you don’t have a high performance team. High performance teams are capable enough to make the day-to-day decisions necessary to sustain operations.
Identify and solve real problems – When there is a performance problem, who owns it? Yes, I understand that ultimately, the leader owns all the outcomes. But in the short run, who see problem resolution as their responsibility? In a high performance team, the team identifies and solves real problems.
Enforce Core Values – Core Values are most often set by leaders; that is their prerogative. However, the team must pick up the mantle to make these values a reality in practice. They will enforce the values first in their own team and then in the broader organization.
Hold each other accountable – This is another activity that in most organizations falls squarely on the leader. In a high performance team, you’ll find mutual accountability. If a member of the team commits to a specific action item and fails to deliver, you don’t want the leader to intervene - you want the team to do that. This is one of the signs of a mature team.
Improve performance – Teams are not a feel good strategy. Leaders decide to build high performance teams because it enhances performance. Teams must be clear on this. They exist to make the enterprise more successful. If performance is not improving, the team must figure out why and resolve the issue(s). All teams are ultimately evaluated on their performance.
It's critical that your team understands its role. This alone won't guarantee high performance, but without it, the journey will be much more difficult.[GLS_Shield]
Here’s a link to a FREE Team Assessment. (Spanish version) You may want to share it with your team. Ask each of them to complete the brief survey and then compare your answers. Where do you agree? Where do you disagree? What can you learn to enhance your performance?