The importance of teams is well-known for successfully executing a project. But not all teams are equal. A team is often inefficient and “not in sync”. This is not necessarily because of the lack of skills in the members or the team leader but primarily because of the team leader’s approach.
A team leader should be adept at making the team function as a high-performing team by identifying weaknesses and how to utilise the strengths best. Such teams are essential for cutting the cost and time needed to execute a project.
If you are a project manager, you can learn all about project management and building a high-performing team with a PRINCE2 training course. If you are wondering what is PRINCE2, it is a structured and highly valued certification for project managers.
If you struggle to motivate your team or use them effectively, this article will help you understand the basics of building a high-performance team.
Table of Content
- Four qualities of a high-performing team
- Leaders’ role in building high-performance teams
- How to build a high-performing team
Four qualities of a high-performance team
Before building a high-performance team, it is crucial to understand what makes it a “high-performance” team. Any high-performing team have these four key characteristics.
- Trust in the team
- Culture of open and transparent communication
- Team-first and purpose-driven
Leader’s role in building high-performance teams
A Project Management (PM) leader must ensure the team develops into a high-performing team while instilling in them the critical characteristics of a high-performing team. According to Shackleton (1995), there are six roles that a leader must fulfil to build a high-performance team.
- Mutual respect and belief: A team leader must have trust in his team and be able to understand the capabilities of the group. A leader should also actively build upon strengths and deal with weaknesses.
- Confidence: A manager must empower his team members to take on responsibilities and new roles.
- Training: Keeping up and learning new skills is essential in this fast-changing world. A team manager must focus on enhancing skills and expertise by giving them opportunities.
- Boundaries: A team member must be skilled in establishing boundaries for the team members to avoid clashes. It helps members understand their functions, opportunities, and place in the team.
- Information: Communication or passing of information must be made efficient using proper processes. The manager must ensure that appropriate information is passed to the members and that they have access to everything they need.
- Providing feedback: A team leader should be adept at giving proper feedback on the areas of improvement. They should also monitor the work stages and ensure they are happening within the stipulated time.
How to build a high-performing team
Building a high-performing team is not easy and requires patience, experience and the proper knowledge. If you want to make an efficient team, here’s how you do it.
Making communication a priority
Teams often fall into confusion because of miscommunication or the lack of it. Open and clear communication is the key to building a high-performing team. Transparent communication quickly solves most problems that might slow down the group.
The enemies of good communication are fear, poor listening, making assumptions and ego. A team leader must ensure that these do not hinder the team or the project. Good communication also includes proper and timely dissemination of information to the team members and amongst them.
Set objectives and common endgame vision
A set of objectives and a common vision must bind the team together, ensuring that the team works as a unit to achieve success and the desired goal. You must set goals by meeting with the team to discuss priorities and set up objectives, making them feel more involved and valued.
Even with the most effective high-performing teams, there is bound to be conflict. The team should be ready to resolve it quickly. The team leader and the members must quickly mediate a structured discussion to resolve the dispute and avoid a deeper rift within the team.
The team members must trust each other, and the team leader must trust the members. The presence of trust eliminates the need for micromanaging, which can affect performance and confidence. Trust improves productivity and instils confidence in the members. Having trust is the essential quality of a high-performing team.
Understanding the team
A team should be aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. A well-functioning, high-performing team will be aware of each other’s skills, values and emotional intelligence. A team aware of these things will work efficiently and successfully.
Goals and team direction might change in a project, and the team must be flexible enough to work through the changes and still function properly in a group. Willingness to learn and roll with the changes is essential for a high-performing team.
A good team leader in project management will be directly responsible for shaping a high-performing team. Such a team is often characterised by trust, open communication, the ability to adapt to new situations, and a shared vision towards success.