Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

A high-performing team generates consistent, high-quality outputs, but an average team is prone to variable results and conflict. Six fundamental criteria characterise a high-performing team:

  • A clear sense of direction. The team is united by a single goal, and everyone understands their role.
  • Transparency and open communication. People communicate openly and regularly, settling issues swiftly and encouraging cooperation and teamwork.
  • Shared ownership and accountability. No one takes a back seat when it comes to responsibility. Each person is responsible for their own weight.
  • Mutual trust and respect. Rather than doubting one another, team members have faith in one another and value what their colleagues have to offer.
  • Diverse skills and perspectives. These teams include people with a diverse range of work methods, personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. Members of the team understand that if situations or demands change, they must evolve as well. These teams value education, progress, and innovation.

As a leader, consider where your team stands. Where are you missing the mark? What are your areas of strength? Look to instil as many of these attributes as possible as you grow your team, as this is the key to building your own high-performing team.

The characteristics are all interrelated. If one of your team’s characteristics is lacking, it’s likely that others are as well. Employees, for example, cannot share ownership without also sharing a common goal. The characteristics are all interrelated. As a result, be aware of the gaps. Focus on one attribute at a time if necessary, and the rest will fall into place over time.

The key takeaways

While an average team is prone to inconsistent results and conflict, a high-performing team produces consistent, high-quality results. These teams are made up of six foundational characteristics:

  • A strong sense of purpose.
  • Open communication and transparency.
  • Shared ownership and accountability.
  • Mutual trust and respect.
  • Diverse skills and perspectives
  • Flexibility and adaptability.

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