habits of high performing teams

7 habits high-performing teams have in common

High-performing teams are fascinating to observe; they’re productive, accountable, creative and collaborative. They’re a behavioural scientist’s dream, so they make a fitting focus for today’s article.

There are certain habits that high-performing teams have, that enable them to move at a fast pace and create incredible work. Let’s explore what those habits are and how you can cultivate them within your own workplace.


7 habits high-performing teams have in common


Habit #1: They regularly give and receive feedback

Ah, feedback. Whether it’s positive or negative, high-performing teams make the effort to regularly communicate feedback. It isn’t something they shy away from because they know the importance of clear communication; it helps them to move faster and deliver a higher quality of work.

High-performing teams also know that negative feedback isn’t a personal attack. They are comfortable with it because they make the effort to depersonalise conversations with the help of non-verbal communication techniques.

The Dealing with the Tough Stuff book is a must-read for anyone looking to level up their communication skills.


Habit #2: They communicate regularly across departments

In order to create the best quality of work possible, high-performing teams make the effort to dip into the knowledge of other departments, gather ideas and looking for fresh perspectives. They understand they can become bogged down in their own world and so are keen to receive input from others in the workgroup.

It’s a habit because they make the effort to communicate across the organisation regularly, not just when a crisis demands it or not just on the team retreat or at the Christmas party.


Habit #3: They manage their workload by working in sprints

One habit that has an incredible knock-on effect within teams is the ability to manage a busy workload by using focussed work sprints. When individuals are able to prioritise and manage their tasks effectively, when they allow themselves uninterrupted sprint time to get things done, they have more mental capacity to engage in collaborative discussions and come up with creative solutions.

High-performing teams habitually review their workload and delegate tasks in order to get the work done well. They set aside chunks of the week for focussed work. If you’d like to give your team the tools and techniques to thrive amongst the busyness, take a look at this program we run within organisations.


Habit #4: They strengthen their team identity

A team that doesn’t have a shared identity or purpose struggle to find meaning in their work. But why does this actually matter? Well, one of the most striking findings in a recent survey from Deloitte shows that 73% of employees who work at a “purpose-driven” organisation are engaged. Knowing why their team exists and being able to draw a clear line from that purpose to what drives them individually, is an undeniable strength of high functioning team members.

High-performing teams rally around a shared purpose and are more motivated and engaged in their work. With employee engagement being a central focus in the modern workplace, it makes sense to prioritise team identity.

Want to dig into this a bit deeper? Take a look at our other article for some tips on re-evaluating your team indentity.


Habit #5: They prioritise personal connection

How well do you know your colleagues? High-performing teams regularly put effort into building rapport and personal connection with the people they work with.

At Pragmatic Thinking, we’ve created a ritual that we like to call ‘Perk Ups’. We encourage our crew to head out of the office for a cuppa (on the company’s dollar) and a chat with someone else within the organisation. It’s an opportunity for people who may not work in the same department to get to know each other on a personal level.

If you’ve switched to working remotely, here are 15 ideas for bringing personal connection (and a dose of fun) to your team video meetings.


Habit #6: They embrace collaboration

Did you know that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures?

High-performing teams have a collaborative approach to the projects they work on. They know that there’s no ‘I’ in team, and instead make it a habit to brainstorm ideas as a collective and distribute tasks so that everyone has a hand in making magic happen. (This is very similar to point two, so I made the focus of point two more about looking for a fresh perspective).


Habit #7: They set and review team goals regularly

Y’know how New Year’s resolutions are often set at the beginning of the year, and go on to become a distant memory by July? For high-performing teams to reach the stars, they know they’ve got to commit to setting and checking in on goals regularly.

A fantastic way to keep track of your team goals is by using a visual medium. If you’ve got a whiteboard (or better yet, a wall that you can slather in whiteboard paint) get those goals up where you can see them and have space for progress markers to be checked off along the way. Consider reviewing the team goals every 90 days to keep them alive and hummin’.


Now that you know a couple o’ habits that keep high-performing teams on their toes, why not take some of them out for a spin?

If you’d like to work on strengthening your teams, take a look at this science-backed program that we created for organisations just like yours.