The 4 Characteristics Of A High Performing Team
Tribe365 co-founder Oliver Randall is a Behavioural Governance expert interested in helping individuals, teams and organisations unlock their true potential by instilling the right workplace behaviours. Here, Oliver talks about the four characteristics of a high performing team
Some may argue that High Performance all comes down to output and delivery.
Let’s assume that to be so. In which case, Amazon must stand out as one of the top deliverers in any space (no pun intended), right?
Amazon constantly delivers immense logistical brilliance.
But, for all its huge commercial success, does Amazon have a high-performing team?
Let’s explore what a high-performing team really is.
When Do You Truly Discover High Performing Teams?
I’d suggest truly high performing teams are discovered when everything is against you, and they have to pull together in order to come out the other side stronger.
Amazon is a logistical modern marvel and commercial behemoth – no one could deny that.
I think we can all agree – without being churlish – that conditions were extremely favourable to Amazon during the global lockdown and the pandemic in general.
But could Amazon and its teams cope with immense change and disruption that appeared to go against it. It would be interesting to test this. Not sure Jeff would approve!
The Ability to Cope with Extreme Challenges
So let’s imagine that true high performance isn’t about following models to the letter, but rather that it’s being able to cope with extreme challenges, continuously growing together as a team continuously, doing teamwork and reaching never expected levels, surprising everyone around.
Could that be the hallmark of a high-performing team?
Any teams out there which have faced adversity, and yet grown and achieved truly fantastic outcomes may recognise what I am suggesting here.
And for those who don’t think they have experienced it, are you sure? It’s likely that you will have done, even if for a short period of time; or (and it’s not always about business) as a family unit when coping with challenging situations.
So, what’s the one thing I think stands out most of all when you consider the make-up of a truly high-performing team? Immense levels of trust.
But Is There A Formula That Helps Build Trust?
If you are still with me on this, we have found there are four main components and characteristics to a high performing team.
#1 Everyone strongly believes in what they are there to achieve
Nobody is there to make up the numbers or have a job. Everyone believes in the underlying purpose 110%, and energy levels match this accordingly. Lateral thinking is unlocked, so everyone is in a mindset where they can overcome any challenge proactively.
#2 Unparalleled operational honesty
Team members don’t hold back to build a positive team culture. They express what they are thinking and bring it to the table if they think it represents a better strategy or way forward for the team or business as a whole. This belief in getting the team to the best place is driving lateral thoughts and inhibitions are removed for the sake of achievement.
#3 Agreed ways forward
The team has unwritten rules around ways forward. Simply applying SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed By All, Relevant to Purpose and Time Efficient) would bring a strong enough structure, but teams should come up with their own rules which suit their personality as a team.
We are all human. And our human needs come first. This means that we need a genuinely healthy balance between work and our lives outside work. Need to pick up the kids from school at short notice? No need to stress – teammates in a high performing team member will pick things up in your absence, no questions asked. Wake up in the morning and think “No, I’m not feeling it today – I need to take a day or two off to recharge my batteries”? No sweat. It happens to pretty much everyone. Your teammates have everything covered – just make sure you get some good rest. High performing teams respect these needs, and they thrive because they champion the importance of balance.
There is such a wide variety of challenges that any team can face, and we know that it’s tough to always maintain the 4 characteristics of a high-performing team. Egos, emotions, and circumstances get in the way and harm the company culture.
However, if you stay the course and work hard to always maintain them, you get amazing, incredible, astounding, and sustainable results!