Creating a high performing team takes dedication and hard work. Building a high performing team is more of a continuous process than a start and stop movement and managers play a crucial role in a team’s performance. Recent research shows that one of the top reasons that people leave their workplace, is to get away from their managers. Almost 50% of employees that quit, do so due to this.
An essential part of building a high performing team is setting clear expectations, following up on progress and creating a good backdrop to the dedication and hard work your team members put in. But there are a few other things that you also should keep in mind.
Set the scene with clear expectations
A crucial part of being a team lead is communicating the expectations for each individual as well as the group. This part may seem tedious, but is an important part of a team leads job. Setting clear expectations gives the individual a clear framework in regards to how they will be evaluated and gives them something clear and concise to hold on to. The benefit for a team lead is also that it will create a clearer process for reviewing the individual’s performance. When expectations are clear it makes it also easier to give constructive feedback and enables both parties to keep to the “agreement”, that the articulation of the expectations have set. It is therefore important for a team lead to communicate what an employee can expect from them since as well as any relationship, it is based on giving and taking.
Craft an emotional story
Articulating the visions and creating an alluring story helps each individual to get a deeper understanding around the value of their work and contribution. It is an essential part of a team leads job, but something that is often forgotten. Making sure to articulate the vision and setting a good backdrop has positive effects on employee performance, well-being and engagement. It is often an overlooked part, especially in larger organizations. Most organizations, regardless of end product, can and should articulate a strong why. Simon Simeck explains it very well in the following video and that is also something Dan Pink raises as an important part of employee engagement.
Motivating team members is a crucial aspect of building a high performing team but something often overlooked by leaders. Recognizing contributions is a simple and extremely powerful way to increase employee engagement, productivity and will in the long run lead to increased revenue. Research in the field of employee motivation and engagement clearly shows that appreciation and recognition is something all team members benefit from and also actively look for. The best part of recognizing individual contributions is that it takes almost no time, doesn’t cost a dime and will have an extremely positive effect on teams and individual’s performance. Employee recognition is directly tied to employee engagement and retention. Two thirds of employees who don’t feel they receive any recognition the last 7 days are twice as likely to leave the company when asked. Research also shows that 63% of employees would work harder if their efforts where recognized. As essential is to create breaks to celebrate achievements, simply hosting team outings such as dinners, comes a long way to boost team moral and are relatively affordable given the positive affect they have in the long run.
Touch base frequently
Making time for follow-ups and evaluations is also an important aspect that is often overlooked, or in most companies bundled with rigid performance reviews. Creating quick moments to touch bases around performance and progress are an incredibly powerful way to align goals, improve performance and show that you are keen on finding good ways to support each individual in your team.
Create milestones during the year or projects where you follow up on progress on an individual as well as team basis. This will help you a get a good picture of the status and health of your team. The team meetings will also enable everyone to pitch in, align goals and address any potential worries that team members may be carrying. The most beneficial part will be that it will create a forum for continuous improvement. These kind of sit downs will also give leaders a platform to communicate with the team frequently, ensure communication among team members and make sure everyone is up to date on any changes.
Create an open and psychologically safe environment
It is no secret that if we trust the people around us and feel their support, we will make ourselves more available, be supportive and find new ways to achieve our shared goals. Creating a “we feeling” is an important step, and in order to do so we need to establish a baseline of trust. An essential part of a team leads role is to be supportive but also to be a facilitator in creating an environment where individuals are allowed and supported in being open. All team members need to feel it’s okay to be vulnerable and make mistakes, knowing that the group will accept them regardless. Google did an extensive study evaluation regarding what factors make up an effective team. They concluded that one of the most important factors is that individuals feel the environment they are in is psychologically safe and nurturing.