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How To Build
a High Performance Team
Teams just don't happen
they are built. The following are tips that you, as a team
leader or an individual member, may use to move your team
into a higher performance level.
1. Develop a
Identify the challenging,
inspiring goals you want your team to achieve. Define how
you want people outside of your team (your customers, your
peers out side of your team, the corporation as a whole)
to perceive your team. Get all team members involved in
helping writing this team vision. Formulate this team
vision into a team mission statement. Then have your
team's mission statement professionally printed and post
it in the work place for all to see.
Make certain that your
people know what is going on corporate wide, as well as
all members know about team both successes and failures.
Let your follow teammates know about new products, new
customers, new business partnerships, etc. Inform them of
everything from changes in employee benefits to changes in
corporate mission or goals. The more knowledge employees
have, the better they can identify with an organization.
If you are going to make an error, tell them too much,
rather than too little. Individuals can't feel as though
you're an important part of a team if the team leader
keeps them in the dark most of the time.
Make certain that your
people feel comfortable coming to you with problems. A
breakdown in communication can be a death sentence to a
team. Even the best team leader can't correct a problem he
or she doesn't know exists. Present yourself as a
resource. You are there to help, to coordinate, to run
interference for team members when necessary. You are a
sounding board if someone needs to discuss an idea or a
problem. In addition, walk around, ask questions, and show
interest and concern. Don't sit in your office and wait
for team members to come to you.
Plan a short stand-up
meeting each morning before the start of the work day.
When something changes or when new information of interest
arrives keeps your people informed. Make certain your
people have not only all of the information they need to
perform their current jobs, but enough to look ahead and
anticipate future opportunities for the team as a whole.
Give your team members a feeling that they are ahead of
the industry curve. Have occasional informal off-site
meetings away from the work place. Encourage team members
to enjoy themselves and get to know one another at these
You may well be the expert
in your field. Perhaps, no one else in your entire team
knows as much as you do. But, it is time to start
respecting and using the expertise of your team players. A
high performance team has members who can assume
responsibility and make decisions independently. To do
this effectively, they must be allowed the opportunity to
learn by doing. People respond in amazing ways when they
are given control over the work they do. If asked, most
employees can provide several suggestions on how to
improve workflow. The more control you give your people
over their own areas, the more ownership they will feel,
the more interest they will have, and the harder they will
try to do a good job.
6. Lead by
You can't motivate a team
to feel good about their work if you, as their leader,
don't. Similarly, team members won't feel ownership or go
the extra mile if you don't. You must set an example by
demonstrating passion about your work and displaying
confidence in the team to do a good job.
Be sure to tell your people
how they are doing in as timely manner -- not 6 months
after the fact. There are no stronger modifiers of
behavior than immediate positive or negative
awards such as; public acknowledgement, increased
responsibility, status, titles, work space, special
parking place close to the door, etc. Keep in mind to
praise your people in public and discipline them in
Encourage your people to
develop personally and professionally. Suggest training
programs, books, seminars, workshops, courses, and journal
articles they can read to eliminate weaknesses and
Share good news. Have a
party. Make noise about it. Let everyone know when the
team or a team member does something really noteworthy.
Give team members personal "at-a-boys," so long as they
are sincere. Keep the criticisms to a minimum.
Limit Your Success
1. When I..
2. If I can
do x, then Y will result...
Yeah, it should, but WILL
Yes, but WILL YOU?
5. If I
Nah, it ain't that easy.
It ain't really done
until the client's check has been cashed and the
services/goods have been delivered.
Close to what, reality?
If only pigs fly.
9. If you'd
just support me...
10. No one
understands what I am trying to do...
Very likely, but that
means you're really an entrepreneur. If they DID
understand, you wouldn't have much to offer, then, would