Every leader wants their team to perform as well as possible, but it can sometimes seem impossible to achieve when there are so many variables involved.
Dealing with the intricacies of human nature and collaboration can be the biggest challenge of all.
And what is meant by a ‘high-performing team’ anyway? Generally, we are talking about a group of people that thrives as a collective unit.
The best teams make the best collaborative use of the specific talents and abilities of each individual, in order to create something much more than the sum of its parts. In the rare cases where this is achieved, it looks like magic.
The upsides of having a high-performing team are extensive. High-performing teams benefit from greater productivity, much more creativity and innovation, better decision quality, and much better job satisfaction and morale all round.
The Role Of The Leader In High-Performing Teams
As the leader, you are almost entirely responsible for the performance level of your team. This is partly built on the skill of building the team in the first place, and partly on the skill of maintaining that team.
You need to provide a driving force for your team, a fundamental direction that everyone is orientated towards. This role, filled by the leader, is completely central and totally critical to performance.
Beyond that, you also have many other extremely important considerations to keep in mind, such as keeping the lines of communication open, fostering all kinds of diversity and leading by example in everything you do personally.
Hiring is the First Key to High-Performing Teams
The art of hiring is one of the most important things you need to have under your belt in order to succeed as a leader and get the high performance you are looking for from your team.
We all know that hiring the right people is the most important thing to do if a high-performing team is the goal we are aiming for. That much is obvious. The challenge comes in actually achieving that, because there are so many unknowns involved when it comes to hiring.
Of course we need to get the basics covered: Experience, skills, relevance to the role and other routine criteria that are always applied when hiring takes place. But is there anything else that leaders can do in the hiring process?
Retention can also be an issue – you might find the best possible fit for each of your open positions, but then some of those team members end up leaving your team because the fit turns out not to be so good from their point of view.
Hiring is a highly complex area within organisations, hence why most of them have an entire department dedicated to hiring and retaining staff – and rightly so.
The key to having the best hiring strategy is to be able to astutely identify skills and traits in each individual that has applied for your vacant position.
To be honest, it would really be nice to have some kind of crystal ball that always tells you who to pick, based on a magical ability to perfectly read the skills and abilities of each candidate!
While there is unfortunately no such crystal ball, you can still get quite close to one thanks to Effective Intelligence. More on that later…
Communication: The Second Key to High-Performing Teams
Beyond hiring, the other thing you must do as the leader is to retain the team you have built. Broadly, this is achieved by maintaining a high standard of communication and human decency within your team.
So many leaders get taken by surprise when their teams fall apart due to members calling it quits. This happens because the leaders neglect the importance of communication – without it, your team is totally lost.
Collaboration and teamwork simply can’t happen without it, and motivation and morale quickly evaporate in its absence.
Effective communication as a leader requires that you get a handle on engaging and motivating each and every team member, and of course you must recognise and reward their achievements.
Give people their own autonomy and responsibility whenever you can, so they feel fully valued. This is absolutely essential.
Your Unfair Advantage for Building High-Performing Teams as a Leader
Remember that crystal ball I mentioned earlier? Of course, it would be really nice if such a tool really existed for leaders to use when they are building teams.
Well actually, with Effective Intelligence, you can come surprisingly close to having that crystal ball at your disposal.
This is because the hidden secret to building the highest-performing teams is through understanding the thinking style of each team member. This applies equally to both existing team members and potential new ones.
Built on the back of over 45 years of research and work inside organisations such as Philips, MIT, Harvard and Nestlé, the Rhodes’ Thinking-Intentions Profile provides a totally unmatched way of understanding how a person thinks, which gives you a completely unfair advantage as a leader who wants to build a high-performing team.
The Thinking-Intentions Profile has been used by more than 150,000 people in a huge variety of applications, many of which have been in hiring scenarios where it has made a massive difference to the resulting performance of the teams involved.
Furthermore, the Thinking-Intentions Profile is not a personality test. It offers an extremely insightful readout of the actual thinking strategies of the person involved, so the strategic implications can be immediately assessed in terms of both individual and team performance.
It is a truly battle-tested tool that can make a huge difference to your ability to lead your team.
If you are curious, then the best way to get started is to get some insights into your own thinking profile, before you even consider it for your team. We always recommend that leaders start that way.
Luckily, we currently have a great way for you to do this, and it is totally free of charge.
Head over here to answer our short questionnaire so you can get the most important insight about your very own Thinking-Intentions profile, at no cost!