Beyond forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, there are a lot of factors affecting team performance to be discovered.  Once you’ve done a little work around creating awareness and empowering teams, the concept of what makes a team truly high performing is a very complex topic.  All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Teams typically manifest a higher level of cooperation than a standard group. The essence of all teams is collaborative independence.  A team can be empowered, but not necessarily high performing.

Use this checklist to see if your team is a collaborative, empowered group or really a high performing team:

Common Characteristics of High Performing Teams

  • Usually consist of member with more diverse skills than those found in other groups.
    • Skills of the members are not identical, rather they are complimentary.
  • Have a stronger group identity than other groups.
    • Names, methods of identity (such as uniforms/shirts/pins/Internet groups) are often used to set the team apart and create cohesiveness.
  • Team members have a clear understanding of both the importance work and their individual role and how it relates to overall goal achievement.
  • Team members have the authority to act autonomously and with discretion to complete their necessary tasks.
    • This doesn’t mean they aren’t supervised, rather it means they are properly empowered to take risks.
  • Members believe success is achievable as a group and are individually passionate about the results and accountable for their performance.
  • They often have their own language and/or shorthand.
    • This makes new membership somewhat difficult and can be isolating to the team and others.
  • Members treat each other with respect and sidebar conversations that are dissenting or subversive to the goals are nearly non-existent.
  • Underachievement, or social loafing, is not tolerated. They establish minimum standards for performance or level of effort.
    • Members who are deemed ineffective or disruptive are eliminated.
  • Teams set their own goals, rules, schedules and norms for behaviors.
  • Decision making is democratic and leadership is participative.
  • Work space and level of effort is usually evenly divided amongst members.

Whether you are an executive, a manager, a director or a coach, if you want to learn more about this topic, join us for COACHING HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS