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How to Lead High Performing Teams: 7 Criteria for Success

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How to Lead High Performing Teams: 7 Criteria for Success

  1. 1. Debbie Narver, BSc MBA MScIB Strategic Management Instructor at NMC Strategic Manager 7 Criteria for Leaders to Empower High Performing, Productive Teams
  2. 2. The Value of Effective Teams Have you ever been on a team that performed exceptionally well? - Where everyone contributed fully - And your results exceed expectations - Did you want to work with that team again?
  3. 3. Most leaders are aware that an effective team can make all the difference when it comes to creativity and innovation. We hope for that synergy, whereby the team achieves results that are greater than the sum of what individuals could produce. But it doesn’t always work that way. What are the barriers to team effectiveness? And how can we overcome these?
  4. 4. My Research & Experience with Teams Training and experience leading teams during my career During my MBA studies (2008- 2010), I conducted specialized research on team effectiveness “How does cultural diversity impact team performance?”
  5. 5. What I learned in my research There are many theories, which at first may seem contradicting. But I think my key learning from this is that there are different types of teams. And thus….
  6. 6. But there are specific actions you can take The following framework is based on a combination of my training, research and experience in leading teams for over 20 years. I now use these methods in working with diverse and virtual teams.
  7. 7. 7 Criteria for Team Leaders to develop high performing teams
  8. 8. Be clear on purpose and goals • J. Hackman, in his 1990 work Groups That Work (and Those That Don’t), suggests that managers can influence the outcome of teams by ensuring clear purpose, and by ensuring quality in the initial design of the teams. • Why are you forming the team? Is it to deliver a specific project? Or an ongoing work team in your operations? Promoting innovation? Or improving efficiency and productivity? • Knowing the purpose will allow you to “design” and structure the team to ensure specific outcomes.
  9. 9. Structure the Team to achieve your goal How many people should be on the team? What expertise and/or roles do we need? Don’t consider only ‘technical’ skills and knowledge, but experience working in a team environment. Remember that there can be a learning curve for those new to group work.
  10. 10. Set clear (and positive!) expectations Give the team a clear understanding of what must they deliver (and when). In addition to productivity, you should also outline behavioural expectation. This is especially important with diverse teams.
  11. 11. Support Team Building • Team building isn’t just “nice to have”. Teams need time to communicate, develop relationships & ultimately, build trust before they can truly be effective • Patrick Lencioni, in his 2002 book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, explains that as trust is the foundation of team effectiveness, lack of trust leads to fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results • Learn more about team building ideas in my previous article Diversity Team Building.
  12. 12. Provide Feedback Your team will need to develop new skills to learn to work together effectively So as a team leader, you need to provide them with feedback to help them recognize:  What are they doing well  What needs to be improved
  13. 13. Deal with Difficult Issues Applying the above criteria will improve positive outcomes, but there are often time where one or more members are either under performing, or undermining success of the team through inappropriate behaviour. Therefore, it is important for you as a leader to stay aware of what is happening on the team, and address these issues based on performance management protocols of your organization. Some of my previous articles outline how to implement performance management and how to improve employee performance.
  14. 14. Apply appropriate (cooperative versus competitive) motivation Take care to apply motivation that promotes team work & cooperation, rather than competition. We often single out people that seem to be “the shining stars”. But this can alienate those team members that have been working quietly behind the scenes. In my course Improve Employee Performance, we take a deeper look at motivation.
  15. 15. Develop Team Leader Skills in your Organization
  16. 16. Having the right team members is important, but I’m sure you can appreciate how important it is to ensure team leader training. While some people do seem to have natural leadership abilities, leading teams is a skill that can be developed like any other. Through a combination of training in specific techniques, work experience and effective coaching, you can empower great team productivity in your workplace.
  17. 17. Learn about our Strategic Management Training Our unique combination of online leadership training and facilitation can support managers and team learning from any location. We can design a program to fit your needs, timeline and budget. www.nmcstrategicmanager.com

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