Managing High-Performance Teams in 6 Steps (Plus Tips)
Updated December 2, 2022
Employees who form connections and collaborate often make for effective teams. Knowing how to manage these teams can help you improve their performance and contribute to the success of a business. If you're a member or manager of a high-performance team, you might benefit from learning how to best interact with your teammates.
In this article, we define high-performing teams, explain their benefits and describe how to manage them effectively.
What is a high-performance team?
A high-performance team is a group of individuals who work together to solve problems and accomplish goals with consistently positive results. Usually, each member of a high-performance team has unique abilities and expertise that complement those of the other members.
A strong sense of community and collaboration is characteristic of a successful team. This collaborative environment helps members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. Here are some skills associated with high-performance teams:
Communication encourages collaboration and can help members to finish tasks quickly. High-performing teams know the best ways to communicate with each other based on their unique dynamic. Some teams may prefer meeting in person, over video chat or on a collaborative document. Active listening, along with verbal and written communication, can help create a seamless workflow.
Successful teams set priorities and assign responsibilities to every member based on their areas of expertise. These goals are most effective when they're practical, split among the group and set within a time frame. Creating a shared vision of the final goal can motivate group members to excel in their team duties.
Members of a high-performing team understand the importance of mutual trust and respect. These teams encourage discussion and different points of view. Fostering an environment where members feel confident and comfortable sharing their perspectives is vital for a team to perform at its highest potential. A team that encourages collaboration can produce impressive and creative results.
High-performance teams understand why feedback is important and welcome it as part of the teamwork process. They can provide constructive criticism and implement it to improve their work. It's important for team members to have time to give feedback to each other so they can form solutions together if needed.
Another quality of a high-performing team is organization. In organized teams, members can manage their workload while keeping team members accountable. Managers can oversee the progress of projects, but an organized team can meet deadlines, complete work and accomplish goals effectively.
Benefits of a high-performance team
There are many ways that high-performance teams can have a positive impact on businesses. Whether you take part in or manage this type of team, you can experience many benefits. Here are some benefits of a high-performance team:
Boosted efficiency: High-performance teams can be highly productive. The efficiency of these teams allows them to meet their targets quicker and move on to other projects and goals.
Improved accuracy: Teams that collaborate well can give each other more time to check all the details and ensure their accuracy. As a result, you may notice work with fewer or no errors.
Greater success: One of the biggest benefits of high-performing teams is that they accomplish most of their goals. They can usually handle many projects or take on complex ones.
Increased employee satisfaction: These teams may feel constant gratification from their successes. This satisfaction can motivate team members to continue their hard work and achieve even more goals.
How to manage a high-performance team in 6 steps
If you manage a team that strives for success, you may wonder how to best support this group of people. While it's necessary to manage each team based on its needs and goals, you can implement some strategies to support high performers effectively. Here are steps you can take to manage a high-performance team:
1. Create a supportive environment
A supportive environment is the first step toward encouraging high-level team performance. In a supportive environment, everyone on the team feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions with the group. Incorporating team-building activities at the start of the teamwork process can help everyone meet each other.
Try to schedule regular meetings where team members lead the conversations, which can help them feel more confident sharing ideas. If you're leading or managing the team, you can act as a moderator, guiding meeting topics and helping them make decisions.
Read more: 6 Ideas for Team-Building Activities
2. Encourage innovation
Another way to manage a high-performance team is by encouraging creativity and innovation. These teams comprise individuals with specialized interests and expertise. By encouraging these individuals to collaborate and share their ideas, they can continually create and solve challenges collectively. Management, team leaders or the team members themselves can organize brainstorming sessions to encourage critical thinking and innovation.
3. Acknowledge and learn from conflict
Conflict can be a helpful tool for managing high-performance teams. Most conflicts result from opposing ideas or opinions. You can learn from your teams' conflicts by analyzing ideas through discussion and attempting to find common themes.
It's also important to acknowledge the differences among group members and consider multiple perspectives. You may combine ideas to create a more detailed solution, showing the team how they can build on each other.
4. Assign specific tasks
One of the best ways to ensure the completion of all tasks in a project is by assigning specific responsibilities to each team member. A high-performing team may comprise people with varying levels of expertise on different topics.
It's best when each person has duties that highlight their skills. Giving everyone a job emphasizes the importance of every team member and places value on their contributions to the group.
5. Create incentives
Incentives are powerful tools that you can use to encourage employees to perform at their highest potential. Consider your team and what they most prefer. Some people enjoy public praise, while others might prefer a private thank you. You can also survey your team to see what they like. Shoutouts and awards can all motivate a high-performing team to continue excelling. Other common incentives include:
Team parties or outings
Thank you cards or emails
6. Foster independence
When you manage a group of high performers, they likely thrive while working independently. It's important to allow team members to work independently on their part of a project so they can take ownership of their work. Fostering independence in a team environment is a great way to utilize everyone's unique talents and skills for the benefit of the whole team.
Tips for managing high-performance teams
Here's a list of tips to keep in mind for managing a high-performing team:
Balance creativity and policy. While it's important to keep teams in line with company policies, it's also crucial to foster creativity. Try to create a balance where team members innovate within the bounds of the company.
Create team values. To keep your team aligned, consider creating team values for everyone to follow. With a core set of team values, you can focus on work rather than on building the team.
Have fun. It's also important to include fun elements during work to maintain positive working relationships between team members. For example, you can host monthly team socials to promote a healthy team environment.
Give feedback. Another important part of managing a high-performing team is giving feedback. Whether you offer positive remarks or constructive criticism, giving feedback is a great way for the team to continue improving.
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