“A team is a small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they are mutually accountable.” – Katzenbach and Smith
“The power of the team is stronger than the individual”. We have all heard it, but many of us have been part of teams where this saying does not ring so true. All teams are not good teams. The concept “High Performance Team (HPT)” was first coined by the Tavistock Institute in the UK in the fifties. The term became widely used in the US in the eighties, but then fell into oblivion due to a lack of understanding of the underlying dynamics.
The concept has recently had a revival, and now new attention is focused on HPTs. So, let us get it right this time; what are the underlying dynamics of HPTs? Here are five tips on how to build the dream team!
1. Who are we? As with other teams, HPTs go through stages in group development, but what is distinctive about them is that they spend more time figuring out who they are, what their overall goal is, how to interact within the team and how to resolve conflict.
2. Alternating leadership, pulling rather than pushing. Leaders of HPTs tend to inspire rather than drive. Although one leader is necessary, it is advantageous for the team that different people take full ownership for achieving specific goals. In this manner, leadership is in fact shared among the team members according to who is the most qualified for the task at hand.
3. A safe environment in which team members feel belonging. The team environment needs to be one where the members feel safe to voice their ideas. Not only that; in order to express their ideas and truly contribute, members also need to feel like they are part of something bigger in which they believe and which they respect.
4. Appreciation. It is of utmost importance that accomplishments do not go unnoticed. Appreciation can be taken to the next level as you get to know your team better and learn in which way they like to receive appreciation; some prefer public recognition, others a private e-mail.
5. A diverse mix. A diverse set of competencies, backgrounds and skills, where everyone has something unique with which to contribute, is a vital criterion for a high performance team. The more diverse a team is, the smarter it can be.
Have you ever been part of an HPT? How was it different from being part of other teams? Please contribute to the conversation below.