Teams that work well together produce exceptional results. Those that don’t are a drag on organisational performance. A high-performance team can be defined as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills, aligned with, and committed to, a common purpose. Yet high-performing teams rarely, if ever, evolve by chance.
For a successful senior team to work effectively, they need to have exceptional communication skills, to trust each other and have a high degree of integrity. As a leader your task is to be a role model and to foster a climate that supports this. Developing the team as a whole is about creating a genuinely shared vision and team identity. It is about strengthening the co-operation amongst all the members of the team, where everybody knows the larger purpose and the exact role they play in it.
There is a need to establish a clear set of shared team values that fully support both the goals of the organisation and the individuals’ personal goals. These values will form the principles used in day-to-day decision making.
It's also about exploring any limiting factors that may be holding the team and individuals back, recognising any potential anxieties or concerns within the team, and putting in place the right support. What do you do if you identify fractures in your team and there are disfunctional behaviours no-one is addressing for fear of upsetting the apple-cart?
How do you know that your team is gelled together, bound by their common purpose, shared values and clear on their roles and responsibilities?
Coaching will help to surface the existing strengths of the team, amplify these and also identify the weak links that could inadvertently sabotage team performance.
Developing plans as a team with each member having clear responsibilities within the plan establishes accountability and provides for personal growth.
And continuing to challenge the team to raise the bar on their ambitions, and having clear measures of success in order for the team to celebrate their achievements.
I was asked to support a team that was under performing. The team had not had a permanent leader for about 6-months and was displaying classic traits of a dysfunctional team. The team had no identity and had no real direction. There was a lack of accountability. Underperformance at an individual level was being tolerated and where there was good performance it was not being recognised. There was no real team work amongst the line managers and everyone seemed to be focused merely on their own survival.
I set about working with the line managers and the newly appointed senior manager. My first aim was to get them to build an identity or brand for the team that everyone could get behind. We focused on their goals and the core values of the team. From this we worked to set individual objectives and clear expectations. I personally engaged with some of the direct reports to the line managers to gain feedback and to open up communication channels to help demonstrate a commitment to them and allow them to have their input.
Communication was imperative and I worked with the leader and his management team on a communication and engagement plan to update of key milestones, successes and to recognise individual and team performance.
The team went on to achieve its overall annual target but more importantly the foundations were set for a phenomenal performance the following year seeing unprecedented growth and success against all key metrics.