Productive teams have a culture of trust, where the leader and team members are collectively accountable for the team’s results. All members of high-functioning teams are invested in producing world-class results for customers, colleagues, and stakeholders.
Without a trusting environment, team performance will suffer. Members may have a “play-it-safe” mentality and fear giving feedback or proposing new or innovative ideas; they may engage in destructive behaviors, violate promises, or attempt to control others; they may be in denial of the need to change and feel entitled to rewards.
The Importance of Team Leadership
Leaders must focus on intentionally building the trust and chemistry on a team. A leader can help guide the team by fostering a culture that encourages open and candid interaction among its members. Creating shared values and guidelines for working together helps guide the team’s decision-making process and the actions of its members.
Team members must know the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues to be able to help and support each other when needed. To build high performance, all team members must respect one another and be willing to engage in true collaboration. Members must be able to move beyond solving day-to-day problems to innovation, experimentation, and original thinking.
The leader must also provide direction and help the team create structure. Structure helps team members know which jobs will be done by whom and how the team’s effectiveness will be measured. All team members should have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities to be performed in support of achieving the team’s goals.
People will stay motivated and focused when their talents are matched appropriately with the task to be accomplished. It’s important to assess the team’s capabilities and consider limitations that might hinder the team’s success.
The leader must also provide direction. The team should understand its purpose and how it differs from other teams in the organization; this will help the team articulate its distinctive value proposition. A well-defined team strategy clearly articulates the position the team wants to be in and a path for getting there.
At times, all teams face challenges and adversity. Organizing a distinctive process for operating with minimal bureaucracy will help the team come together to solve problems. It’s important to clearly articulate protocols and ways of doing business. For example, clarifying issues such as intellectual-property rights will help team members understand their responsibilities to the company and others while working on a project.
When team members have trust, structure, helpful processes, and strong commitment to the team’s mission and vision, they are positioned for excellence. The team can set high standards, be innovative and forward-thinking, and set collective goals and plans—all of which are essential for high performance.
CMOE has helped many teams reach higher levels of performance. Contact CMOE to learn more about how we can help your organization achieve its goals.