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What Characterizes a High-Performing Team
High-performing teams are characterized by a clear sensibility-based trust in each other, and thus everyone feels comfortable expressing personal needs and boundaries.I know that everyone in my team wants what’s best for me.This makes it easier to recognize mistakes and flaws, and in this regard, ask for and offer a helping hand when needed. With a foundation of trust, open and unfiltered discussions come naturally – and so does an overall focus on team performance, as well as a personal commitment to agreements and to keeping each other responsible. This makes it possible to engage in healthy conflicts and discussions when we disagree.
Everyone in these discussions will find that they are seen, heard, understood and respected - whether they are extrovert and talkative or more introverted and reflective. After such discussions, based on the basic trust, we make some decisions that all parties undertake without exception. There will never be a situation where some leave the room and are not loyal to the joint resolution. When authentic commitment to a joint resolution is taken, it is natural to hold each other responsible for actions and lack of the same. It will be easy and straightforward to give each other feedback. When this is a reality, each team member is committed to what is best for the team and what we all have agreed upon, rather than what is best for the individual. I am willing to sacrifice something in my own area for the good of my team and our common goal. That is a high-performing team.
How I Work with High-Performing Teams
There is no way around it - when a high-performing team is to be created or improved, it is a matter of trust. I have different ways of working with basic trust. It is not about blindfolding your eyes and falling backwards so that others can catch you. It is about opening up and sharing. The better we know each other, the more open and trustworthy we become. We also become more spacious when facing unsuitable behavior in everyday life. It is not about taking off your shoes and stocking and holdings hands over a candlelight – no, it is about being realistic and listening to each other to understand. One could say it is about reading the manual of each other. When the basics are in place, I work with good and open discussions. Commitment to each other is about keeping each other responsible and providing direct feedback – and of course, focusing on the team’s results, rather than just your own.
A very strong starting point for such a process is to use a profile that is based on Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, where the level of Confidence, Discussion/Conflict, Commitment, Responsibility and Team Results are measured.