We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not just a team, it’s a family.” But what does that mean? What makes an effective team different from other groups of people who work together?
High-performance teams are key to an organization’s operational success. They have a shared vision, and they work together toward it. They understand that their success depends on each other, and they support one another when times get tough.
High-performing teams usually have clear roles and responsibilities, a willingness to innovate and experiment, respect for individuals within the team, strong communication skills among all members of the team (both verbal and nonverbal), and an ability to cope with change in an effective manner.
These characteristics are desirable in any organization seeking high-performance results from its employees. They are also vital if you want your department or team to perform at peak levels in order not only to meet but exceed expectations year after year!
In our experience, here are the seven characteristics that distinguish high-performing teams:
1. Strong bonds among members
A strong bond among team members is one of the most important factors of high-performing teams. Team members need to feel a sense of belonging, and this can be accomplished by having open discussions about work-related issues such as project deadlines and assignments. Team members should also be supportive of one another in their roles as team leaders or group members.
Team members should also feel comfortable being honest with each other about both positive and negative feedback, which will help them grow professionally as well as personally. Finally, trust is essential for high performance because it allows each person to express his or her needs honestly without fear of judgment from others on the team (or even managers).
According to Interaction Associates, a management consulting company, a majority of employees (80%) believe that a high level of trust within an organization leads to both innovation and investment in new projects. Additionally, Google’s research found that “psychological safety” is the key factor for team effectiveness.
2. Strong communication
Communication is the key to a high-performing team. The members of the team need to be able to communicate with each other, their clients, and their managers. They also need to be able to communicate with the rest of the company so that they can work together as a whole entity instead of just individuals isolated from each other. The inability to communicate properly for all parties involved in a project or task at hand (including customers) will only lead to failure.
Establishing clear communication processes can prevent conflicts and ensure that important information is shared with the appropriate individuals, tasks and responsibilities are defined, and nothing is overlooked.
For instance, teams may use Slack channels for casual conversations and team updates, while utilizing project management tools like Asana to store project information, assign tasks and track progress.
The third characteristic of a high-performance team is shared objectives and vision—how do we want things done? What are our goals? If those aren’t clear from day one (and often are not), then things get messy fast!
For example, one common value of high-performance teams is having a team-first mentality in which employees see their success as the product of their group’s hard work and make decisions that are in the best interest of the team versus themselves.
4. Clear roles and responsibilities
Team members should have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They should know what they are expected to do, how their work fits into the overall mission, and how it contributes to the team’s goals.
When you look at the team, you should be able to see who is responsible for what. For example, if there is a project manager and an engineer in charge of building a new product, then those roles are clear. The PM needs to understand what his or her role is and how it fits into the overall plan for the project. The engineer needs to understand his or her role as well: he or she may need to delegate tasks so that they can stay on track while still being accountable for their performance.
5. Willingness to innovate and experiment
So, what is innovation? It’s the key to success. Innovation is a process, not just an event or result. It’s about trying new things and bringing change to your organization—not just doing things differently but also learning from mistakes and seeing where those changes can lead you next time around.
Innovation is a mindset that enables you to see opportunities in front of us when you might otherwise overlook them because they seem too difficult or risky at first glance (or even second). Innovation isn’t just about finding ways to do something different; it also involves being willing and able to try new ideas out before committing fully.
Interestingly, according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, the majority of employees (94%) stated they would remain with a company longer if it offered learning and development opportunities. This suggests that many workers have a desire for growth and development but need to find a company that is willing to invest in them.
6. Managing conflict
Conflict is a normal part of team life. Even the best teams will have disagreements and questions about how to proceed, which can lead to conflict. Effective teams learn how to deal with these inevitable differences of opinion in ways that are healthy and productive for everyone involved.
Team members who feel like their opinions matter, or who disagree with a decision but don’t feel like they can raise their concerns without getting shouted down by other teammates, may start feeling frustrated or even disengaged from the team — which isn’t good for anyone! On the other hand, when conflicts happen in an effective team, they can be signs of success because they show that people are thinking critically about what their team is doing and working hard together toward shared goals instead of just passively following orders from above.
7. Resilience in times of difficulty
Resilience is the ability to adapt to change and recover from setbacks. It’s about being able to bounce back from failure, keep going in the face of adversity, and recover quickly from a loss.
Resilient teams can bounce back from failure quickly and easily because they have learned how important this trait is for their success as well as other people’s success on their team. They also realize that there will be times when things don’t go perfectly right or at all—that’s just life! But if you know how important it is not only for yourself but also for everyone else on your team to stay strong through those times (and especially when things aren’t going according to plan), then resiliency becomes second nature over time.
As you can see, these characteristics of high-performance teams are not just beneficial in their own right, but they also have the potential to impact the success of other teams. The most important takeaway here is that you need to start thinking about your organization’s culture now so that the right people can thrive together later on!