At Summit Team Building we specialize in helping organizations and leaders build high performance teams. Sometimes we work organization wide on culture, collaboration and communication, sometimes we work with individual teams to help them figure out how to bring out their best, and sometimes we work with leaders and leadership teams to help them determine how to be a great leader and builder of teams.
In this blog I will focus on the development of a leader into someone that consistently builds high performance in teams and the individuals within those teams.
There are 6 elements critical for a leader to focus on to build high performance. Other elements will come into play, but this is the place where it all begins.
Step 1: Know how you lead. Each leader has their own personal style. It is created through a combination of their innate personality traits, past experiences, the organizational culture, and their training. Most leaders that are in touch with their own self have a pretty good idea of their style, but it is always a good idea to dig deeper through assessments, training, coaching, and reading. An assessment such as MBTI will help a leader better understand their inborn personality traits that drive so much. An Emotional Intelligence assessment will help a leader understand their strengths and some of their blind spots. Whereas the Life Style Inventory (LSI) will help them understand their default leadership style. Armed with this knowledge a leader can modify their leadership style and approach to the needs of the team.
Step 2: Have a Vision of High Performance. It is hard to achieve high performance if you do not know what it is. As Stephen Covey states – “Begin with the end in mind”. You can’t just say “let’s be high performance” as that has no real definition or measurement in it. As a leader you must have a clear definition of what high performance is and you must communicate it to your team. You cannot expect anyone to live up to your expectations if they do not know what they are. Do not just assume people can read your mind. Determine what high performance is for your team based on goals, responsibilities, customer service, cross-department teamwork and interpersonal relationships. Once you have this figured out communicate it to the team and reinforce it every chance you get.
Step 3. Build Real Relationships. Communication is critical within teams and from team to leader. Communication is built on trust and trust is created through relationship. I always say that relationship is the foundation of any high performance team. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to get to know and understand one another. This can be done through training and team building sessions that are facilitated to accelerate relationship development and through more organic events such as meetings and team dinners. A mix of both is best.
Step 4: Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities. This is critical to avoid dropped balls and conflict. When everyone knows what to do everything gets done. It is that simple. If something is missed, you know where to look to find out why. Conflict often arises due to unclear roles and responsibilities when too many people think they are doing the same thing or nobody thinks it is their responsibility. If you do not have clarity on this it will become apparent very fast and you will need to fix it.
Step 5: Provide Proactive Feedback. To help everyone know how they are performing and to help them grow you need to provide proactive feedback and be a coach and a mentor. One of the strongest factors in determining commitment is the ability to learn and grow. Great leaders make the development of their people a priority and they are rewarded for their efforts in performance, loyalty, commitment and even promotion.
Step 6: Celebrate. Everyone likes to celebrate a job well done. However, don’t wait until the end of the fiscal year or the conclusion of a big project to celebrate. Find many small celebrations along the way. This will help build relationships, foster commitment and loyalty, and keep morale strong for when times get tough. A team that feels appreciated is more willing to go the extra mile when needed.
Building a high performance team is a complex task, but if you focus on these 6 elements you are well on your way to greatness. Take time to make a plan and give us a call at Summit Team Building and we can develop a training program to help you achieve greatness.