Expert Author Kate Tammemagi

A high performing team is every leader's dream. The leader of any team wants to build a team that want to achieve, that knows how to achieve and who enjoys getting better and better. How does a leader take their group and turn them in to this high performing team?

Eight Steps to Building a High Performing Team
The following eight steps will guide the leader through the process of building their team.

Step 1 BIND the Team together. A team needs to have a SENSE of being a team, a feeling of cohesiveness. They get this from bonding, from spending time together socially as a whole team. This can be as simple as having a work lunch or evening drink. More elaborate after work activities are good, but not essential. What is important is that they get to know each other, to build respect and trust.

Step 2 - Align the team to its purpose and shared team goals. It is critical for any team to be totally aware of their shared team purpose and that they are all working towards achievement of shared goals. Each person knows where they fit, how their effort contributes to the shared goals. It is equally important that they internalise how their team purpose contributes to the business goals of the organisation, that they feel connected to the wider purpose. The more connected they feel to the business and to our Customers, the more motivated the team will be to achieve its goals.

Step 3 - Set out our GOALS, your VISION and your EXPECTATIONS. It is the role of the leader to win the respect of the team, and to inspire them to achieve their goals.
The team leader must give the team their direction forward. What do you want us to achieve? Why is this important? If we succeed, what will that feel like? What kind of team will we need to be to achieve our goals?

Step 4 - Organise and structure the workload. A good leader will know the strengths of each team member, and will use combined strengths to improve team performance. Running effective meetings is key to organising and to building the team. Run frequent, very short team meetings, thirty minutes or less. Set clear objectives for each meeting, and vary how you run the meeting to achieve your specific objectives. For example, one meeting could be a state of play of the workload, the next identifying blocks to success, a third a brainstorm session to generate new ideas, and a fourth process mapping to improve how we work with other departments.

Step 5 - Set short-term Team goals, the steps to success. Always have both individual goals and team goals each month. Team goals should include both immediate workflow, and also working on goals to improve how the team works together. Goals should be achievable but stretching the team.

Step 6 - Give feedback on goals. Many leaders set goals and walk away. It is the leader's role to ensure there is feedback on the progress of the goals and on goal achievement. Vary how this is done each month. Try to make it interesting and fun. You can use graphs on the wall, or stars for each section of the goal achieved. You can ask the team how we could make feedback more motivating. Ensure you notice and praise extra effort or major milestones.

Step 7 - MOTIVATE the Team to achieve. An effective leader uses many different methods to motivate their team to achieve. The most basic foundation block is generating a 'can do' and 'how can we do it' ethos. The leader does this by modelling this behaviour, and by challenging team members to think in terms of solutions.

Step 8 - CELEBRATE SUCCESS - use both team and individual rewards. A reward is simply a way of recognising success. The most motivating and effective rewards are simple, personal tokens of appreciation. Verbal praise is a reward; praise from a senior executive is even more rewarding. Pizzas made by your own hand, or tickets to their favourite sporting event will be highly appreciated. The trick is to know your people, and to know what would be special for them. Each reward has reward value, you will reduce the reward value each time you use the same reward, so use them only once.

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