The High Bar of High Performance

Setting the Bar on Team Performance.

What does it mean to have a high-performing work team? What are the necessary attributes the individual team members need to build a strong whole? Ask yourself that question. Fill in the blank in the following sentence:

High-performing teams need to _________________?” 

If your goal as a leader or a motivated team member is to attain a high-performing group, then what does that look like for you?

Each team environment might be slightly different depending on stakeholder need and business focus, but often times, the following list of characteristics are important:


  • Supportive of projects

  • Egos set aside

  • Respectful of each other

  • Achieving a united front to others

  • Assume good intent

Open to give and receive honest feedback:

  • Freedom to share and express yourself in a way where all can benefit

  • Challenge each other to be better – respectfully call each other out when wrongs occur

  • Brainstorm and collaborate to get to the best of every idea

  • Share information freely and easily – so all members are aligned

  • Seek feedback as a tool for growth

Clear goals and direction:

  • Seek clarification when goals or direction are not clear

  • Goals are freely communicated and cohesive

Understand and leverage unique strengths:

  • Understand that all team members will have different personalities and strengths and see that as an asset

  • Use strengths to build on successes and continuous improvements

  • Be energized by innovation

The diagram below is a great illustration of what it takes to build a strong team environment:

It is difficult to build a team that is able to achieve and hold to these behaviors. But it is worth the challenge if it is achieved.

It is based on Peter Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust
Fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust on a team.

Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict
The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.

Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment
The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.

Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability
The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.

Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results
The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective results.

If you desire to build a strong team in your workplace, using this as a foundation or a springboard to better behavior is a great place to start. Set a team meeting to discuss the principles here. Ask your team members to write down what they see as strong attributes in having a strong team. Build off of their responses.


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