Essentials For Building
a High Performance Team
The next key ingredient is “Optimism”. High performance team members have dreams for achievement. These dreams are fueled by the leaders optimism. It is true that team members will flourish when they have hope and they will give up when they don’t. High performing team members thrive on accomplishment and recognition they get when working through difficult problems and persevering. This perseverance requires optimism.
The responsibility of a leader in an optimistic environment is to be realistic and optimistic at the same time. Realism is important because it acknowledges the facts of the situation no matter how unpleasant they are. An optimistic environment dictates that given the facts of the situation, the team will continue to work toward their goals. When teams lose optimism, it is the responsibility of the leader to coach the team to get them back on track. Together the team acknowledges the situation and begins to generate ideas for solving the current problem.
A leader must make the environment enjoyable to work in. Team members perform at their peak when they enjoy what they do and with whom they do it with. Enjoyment doesn’t mean you play cards all day long. Real enjoyment comes when the leader and team are deeply involved in working a critical problem and they persevere together as a complete unit.
The leader sets the tone for the team. Setting the tone for an enjoyable work environment is accomplished by showing that you enjoy your job, that you like the people you work with and that you appreciate their hard work. Thank team members for working through the weekend. Let them take a long lunch if they worked 12 hours the previous day. Praise them for new ideas. Never blame team members for mistakes, laugh and learn from the mistakes. Keep the team focused on winning instead of failing.
High performance team members are self directed. When empowered to accomplish a goal, these team members take ownership of their responsibilities and are committed to succeed. Leaders of high performance teams work to focus the “Team” on “What” needs to be achieved. The “What” is defined as the vision, goals, objectives and milestones for the team. The “How” work is to be accomplished must remain the sole responsibility of the team. When leaders start telling teams how the work is to be done, the team becomes de-motivated and performance drops dramatically.
The final ingredient for a high performance team is developing an environment where team members can grow. Top performers need to learn new skills and be permitted to develop and implement new ideas to work at their peak. Creating an environment where team members can experience different roles, cross train, work with diverse teams and learn new specialties will develop team members who are more self assured, who listen, and are more open to new ideas. This strategy of continuous learning will keep the team energized and motivated to perform at the highest levels.
A Final Word
As a leader, you have the power to influence the people and performance of the team. If you truly believe in creating an environment where Trust, Vision, Optimism, Enjoyment, Empowerment and Opportunity are encouraged, then you will build a solid, sustainable and high performing team.
Copyright 2006 Dennis Sommer
Dennis Sommer is a widely respected and world renowned authority on sales, business development and leadership performance improvement. He is a leading adviser, author, and speaker providing clients with practical strategies that improve personal and organization performance. He has held numerous consulting, sales, and leadership level positions with Accenture, Jo-Ann Stores, and CA, Inc. Please contact Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.btrconline.com
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