Team Up for High Performance

Teams comprise a mosaic of personalities and work talent.

Just as various colors, hues, sizes, textures, and shapes come together to create art, an organization’s members join their knowledge, skills, experiences, and abilities to develop an extraordinary impact in achieving business goals.

Consider the following – 

  • What might these art pieces represent when members of your organization converge to work on an initiative?
  • What will it take to fashion a highly productive, synergistic team – where you maximize each individual’s uniqueness while ensuring the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of each part?

Team Development

Bruce Tuckman authored the four stages of the team development concept. The stages are  Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.

Teams progress and regress through the stages as change happens. However, when leaders engage in intentional behaviors and actions, teams are better positioned to achieve and sustain high performance.

Barriers to High Performance and Effective Leadership Actions

When leading your team through the stages of team development, watch for disengaged team (group) behaviors. These behaviors will stifle inclusion, engagement, and high performance.

Barrier #1. The team accepts the vision, mission, and operating values “as is” without question or discussion.

Leadership Action. If operating as a business group within a larger business structure, share the organization’s vision, mission, and values with the team.

However, provide the team members an opportunity to process the information and determine how it resonates with each of them.

Without changing the essence of the organization’s focus, work with the team to bring your group’s view of the vision, mission, and values to life through collaborative brainstorming and ownership of behaviors and actions.

Barrier #2. There are unclear roles and assignments.

Leadership Action. Zooming in on business goals, conduct a present position assessment of your current organizational structure – both functions and roles. Answer the questions:

  • How well do the organizational and job designs support the business mission and goals?
  • What changes, if any, are needed to realize the goals?
  • Do you know each team member’s natural strengths and purpose?
  • Is each team member aligned to the functions and roles that optimize their strengths and purpose? If not, what action will be in the team member’s and the team’s best interest?
  • What opportunities exist for you to clarify roles and responsibilities during one-to-one conversations?

Barrier #3. The team practices cautious communications, e.g., tentative, conditional statements.

There is a tendency to “tip-toe” around issues to ensure that differences of opinions (conflict) are kept to a minimum, ignored, denied, avoided, or suppressed.

Leadership Action. Genuinely create a space where team members can share their perspectives without fear – of embarrassment, diminishing appreciation, or retaliation.

That means paying attention to your communication style, such as demonstrating curiosity versus interrogation, asking open-ended vs. closed-ended questions, or practicing active listening vs. interrupting or showing impatience by finishing others’ sentences.

What is Your One?

The barriers and leadership actions cited in this article are thought starters. Considering your business team, what might you start, stop, or ramp up to raise employee engagement that leads to higher team performance?

You don’t have to go it alone. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.