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High Performing Teams Part2

5 months ago - Mark Ashton

How to Develop a High Performing Team

High Performing Teams Part2


As a follow-up to my first post about high performing teams, this post will look at the development of a high performing team in a little more detail. It’s not just about setting tasks and achieving goals.  The team needs to take on its own identity, and it needs to develop a spirit.

How to Develop a Good Team Spirit

Many people ask if it is actually important for members of a team to get along.  Do you need to socialise and spend time together in order for the team to be effective?  It’s not a straightforward answer.  And, it is important to understand that it isn’t always feasible to expect that all members of teams have the time to commit outside of working hours for social events.  Those with families or hobbies that take up their spare this cannot be ‘forced’ into socialising with people from work. This said it is important that team builds trust, and that there is a good team spirit.  It helps with getting the job done, and it helps with avoiding conflict that is often the cause of delays to productive behaviours.  I have outlined a few points below that will help you to develop a strong team spirit:

  • Encourage debate and critical thinking – it’s healthy
  • Record all actions that are to be taken in a formal way, so there are no ‘grey areas’
  • For all important decisions, hold a ‘second chance saloon’ style of meeting – it is a great way to ensure that all concerns from individual team members are given the air time they need.
  • Do not put aside dissent or interpersonal challenges – deal with them, resolve them, and move on.
  • Occasionally alter team routines – change the seating or roles and duties where possible
  • Task someone within the team to take on the completer / finisher role – alternate this occasionally
  • Encourage and develop team cohesiveness through non-task led time together
  • Always celebrate the success of the team

Specific Actions an Effective Team Will Take

As a general rule of thumb, in order for the team to be effective, it must first understand its strengths and weaknesses.  Basic questions such as how the team can learn from one another and how can they best support each other need to be addressed and answered.  Essentially, the three things that an effective team will be completely clear on are their objectives, their roles, and the working rules to which they must adhere to.

  • The establishing of understanding demand and urgency
  • Choosing members based on their skills and not just their ‘likeability’
  • Trust your instinct when it comes to first impressions
  • Be clear about acceptable standards of behaviour within the team
  • Allow the team to take on important tasks
  • Challenge the team on a regular basis
  • Encourage the team to spend time together
  • Use positive feedback and reward and recognise for high performance

Other things that need to be addressed relate to how the team will collectively resolve issues, how will they share feedback, how will they make decisions, and what will success look like.

Innovation Teams

Innovation Teams are considered to be a little bit different in the way they go about their everyday workings. If you are looking to develop a high-performing team that innovates the makeup and general leadership of that team is integral to its overall success. Diversity is Crucial.

The best makeup of an innovation team should include a diverse range of individuals.  Educationally speaking, but also with regards to their expertise.  Organisational tenure is also key, so having a good mix of ‘old hands’, combined with newer members is ideal.

There should also be changing levels of formalisation and structure depending upon the process stage.  Within the early stages, having a transformational style of leadership is important, then, later on, a more instrumental leadership style is best.

Conflict within such a team is almost unavoidable.  The overall management of that conflict should, therefore, be handled in such a way that the interdependence of the team is not loosened.


Whatever the role of the team, the core skills that you need to invoke in order for that team to be developed into a high performing team should be centred around the principle that everyone needs to look ahead towards the future success of the organisation and focus on the growth that will occur.

Task conflict is crucial for the best results, however interpersonal conflicts much be dealt with and nipped in the bud as soon as they surface.

All team members should be incentivised in line with their future contribution to the success of the business.