The Secret to High Performance Teams 

There seems to be a lot of pressure on companies to perform right now. From the impacts of the pandemic, the impacts of rising interest rates, a change in workplace setups, many companies feel the need to put pressure on their employees to pull some serious rabbits out of the corporate hat at the moment. 

Couple this with a backdrop of such things as ”quiet quitting” that is broadcast out to the general workforce via social media, and many leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Here’s the thing. You simply can’t have high performing, engaged employees without a really, really good culture. People need to feel respected, appreciated and that their work has meaning, in order for them to do their best work. You need to strike the right balance between having a focus on outcomes like sales figures or KPIs, and creating a supportive culture. Leaders need to shift the focus from demanding outcomes, to providing input. 

Think of a time you were involved in a high performing team, where it felt like everyone was achieving their personal best. Was the team highly collaborative, were you all engaged in what you were doing? Did you feel valued and appreciated as a team, and as individuals? Did you enjoy work and have fun? Did your work feel meaningful?

All these factors contribute to highly engaged high performing teams. Try to emulate some of these characteristics in your own team culture. It’s more challenging in today’s work environments where there are more people working from home, but it is possible.

Leaders need to have a vision and work towards fostering the kind of collaboration, trust and camaraderie amongst their team. It doesn’t just happen. ‘The first step is doing a bit of self reflection, to see where your management approach sits on a scale of engagement-oriented and performance oriented. 

Engagement and Performance are intertwined. 

You can’t have one without the other. They are mutually exclusive. You need to find just the right balance between the two. Infact, leaders actually fall into one of two categories based on this tendency to favour one or the other. Some leaders are more performance-oriented and some are more engagement-oriented. 

Performance oriented leaders: Leaders that fall into this category, tend to base their communications with their team on performance and outcomes. They favour talking about goals, objectives, targets and results. 

Engagement-oriented leaders; Leaders that fall into this category, often prioritise a positive team culture based on encouragement and team morale. They tend to be more supportive and involved. 

The key to having a team of high performers is to ensure your leadership approach encompasses the right balance of both of these styles of management. You won’t have engaged staff if you focus purely on performance. Likewise, you can forget about having high performers if you focus too much on coffees, catch ups,fun and supportive chats, with not enough focus on achieving your desired outcomes. 

How to be more engagement-oriented

  • Show more recognition and appreciation of your employees and encourage a culture of everyone doing this within the team. 
  • Create a culture where everyone can have a say, contribute to ideas and meetings, without the fear of being humiliated. 
  • Provide constructive feedback when necessary, in a way that is positive and encouraging and helps individuals to learn and grow. 
  • Encourage everyone to be respectful of one another. 
  • Create opportunities to get to know all your team personally, and encourage social catch ups for others to connect on a deeper level too. 
  • Have an open door policy and welcome opportunities to meet one to one with your team members. 

How to be more performance-oriented 

  • Know what each person in your team is working on with daily or weekly meetings/ emails. When people are aware of their manager knowing their progress on their work, they are more actively engaged. Likewise, if people feel their manager is not across their work they are much more likely to be disengaged. 
  • Hold employees accountable for performance. When managers don’t hold people accountable for performance, engagement begins to decline and in fact, most employees become actively disengaged. 
  • Set very clear and well defined goals and desired outcomes so there is no ambiguity around what your expectations are of your team. 
  • Try to measure progress and performance and ensure the goals you set are achievable and not out of reach. 
  • Get more specific about timing and deadlines. If you give someone a task, make it clear when you expect it to be done by, or what milestones need to be reached and when. 

Striking the right balance between your team engagement strategy and their performance is the key to creating a highly engaged, high performance team. Could you and your leadership team do with one of my tailored workshops? I’d love to share myexperience and fool-proof leadership techniques with you. Don’t hesitate. Get in touch today.

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