high performing teams

Everything you need to know about high performing teams

Every leader would like to say that their team is a high performing team, right? But what is the difference between high performing teams, and well… other teams. In truth, there’s quite a few things that set high performing teams apart from the norm, including observable behaviours as well as team dynamics and team rituals.

To learn everything you need to know about high performing teams, read on. 


What are high performing teams?

High performing teams are made up of individuals who have complementary skills and personalities that come together to achieve superior results and outcomes for the organisation they work for. Oftentimes high performing teams are seen as the standard for good workplace culture and tend to get along well on both a personal and professional level.

While high performing teams may be outcome-driven, they are more likely to be driven by shared values and a clearly defined purpose. High performing teams are also frequently observed to be made up of individuals who collaborate and problem solve effectively and efficiently.


What do high performing teams do differently?

There are plenty of observable behaviours of high performing teams that contribute to the success and outcomes of the collective. When it comes to what high performing teams do differently compared to their underperforming counterparts, it often comes down to interpersonal connectivity as well as connection to purpose. 

High performing teams work well together on an interpersonal level as well as professionally. Every individual actively participates in team discussions and puts in the effort to contribute to the team through individual outputs. 


How to create a high performing team

Creating a high performing team is part team dynamic, and part team direction. Not only does the team need to be able to work together effectively, they’ve also got to be heading in the same direction. 

Below are a couple of suggestions to help you on the path to creating a high performing team.


Clarify your team identity

Your team identity is a culmination of the beliefs your team holds about their past, the thoughts they have about the present and what they as a group envisage the future will look like. 

By taking the time to re-evaluate your team identity you’ll allow your people the opportunity to discuss the past, present and craft a vision for the future that you can work towards as a collective. It’s incredibly motivating and a great bonding experience for your team that is working towards achieving high performance.


Set motivating team goals

Team goals should be bigger than BAU and separate from KPIs or role-based goals. For a team goal to truly be motivating, it needs to be something that the team comes up with and sets milestones to work towards together. 

If you’ve got a selection of team goals that you’re working towards it may be useful to assign one or two team members to keep track of the progress you’re making towards achieving these goals so they don’t fall by the wayside.


Identify how your team work when operating at your best

It is difficult to achieve high performance as a team, let alone as an organisation, if you don’t have a clearly defined picture of what high performance looks like. Before embarking on a journey towards high performance, step back to consider what your team is doing when they’re performing at a high level. It’s likely that you’ve had moments where your team have pulled together in the past and achieved great things. Consider what behaviours were present during those moments of high performance so that you can replicate the desired behaviours.


Identify how your team work when not operating at your best

In the same way that it can be difficult to achieve high performance if you don’t know what it looks like, the same goes for clarifying the behaviours you need to avoid. By getting together to openly discuss the unhelpful behaviours that detract from team performance and reduce team morale, you will know when to speak up and step in to get back on track to high performance. 


Overall, high performing teams make a commitment every day to showing up and working together to achieve (and often exceed) their goals. High performing teams may do things differently, but that isn’t to say that you can’t take your team to this new high level of performance.

The trick is to maintain this level of high performance long-term, and for that, you’ll need to commit to obsessing over recovery as much as you do performance outcomes. But that’s a story for another blog. To learn more about high performing teams and what it takes to go from good to great, take a look at our Great Team Framework program.