Building high performance teams

I am sure you agree that people are very unpredictable. Keeping them on your side and performing at their best can present some difficult challenges.

In my experience and work, I have found some key things to focus on to help with these challenges, which I hope you find useful.

Share your Vision

It is critical for an organisation or team to have direction. Your people will want to know what the future looks like and will want some input into that. Therefore you need to take time to gather your thoughts on where your organisation or team will be in 1, 3 and 5 years. But also remember to share this with your people and gain their input, so you can adapt this before everyone commits and buys in.

Agree and reinforce your values and behaviours

As well as your Vision and direction, it is also important to agree the identity and culture for your team. In simple terms, this means defining your values (which you can share externally) and also the internal behaviours that everyone agrees are important to see consistently internally. It is also vital to recognise behaviours in line with this and those that are not! When people’s attitudes do not fit your culture, be ruthless in parting ways with them. Also remember that it is up to you and other senior people to “model the way”.

Build a trusting and supportive culture

You also want to engender trust across the whole team. This means people being allowed to make mistakes (not too often!) and that also includes you. Share these, learn from them, and allow everyone to be supported and grow from this.

Growth mindset

Encourage a growth mindset for everyone and as a collective. A fixed mindset is one that does not welcome feedback and sees mistakes and problems as blockers. Use honest non threatening feedback to give people pointers to grow. Seek feedback on you as a leader, and act on this rather than become defensive.

Praise more than criticise

Research from Marcial Losada has shown that it is important to ensure the balance of positive to negative feedback is in the range 3:1 to 6:1. So, as well as giving constructive feedback on things that did not go so well, give plenty of praise and thank yous for the things people do well. Praise will inflate them like a balloon!

Flex your leadership style

Adapt your leadership style to suit the situation and the person. Develop and use your emotional intelligence skills to support this. Know when to coach, support, direct, seek consensus, be visionary and tend to someone’s emotional needs. This will make so much difference in the way you lead your people.

How you talk to each other and debate

How people talk to each other is a good indicator of whether you have a positive culture or a toxic one. Set the tone for this and be mindful of the language you and others use between each other. Also look at how disagreements and debate are handled. Healthy debate is at the foundation of a growing business, it needs to be entered into freely, but never directed or taken personally.

Encourage individual and collective responsibility

Your meetings and 121s should be very clear as to who is responsible for doing what. Or what each team has agreed as results to be achieved. Goals, targets, milestones and key measures should be agreed and committed to. These then need to be monitored. Nobody should be allowed to use the words “try”, “might”, “see what I can do”. You need to foster a ‘can do’ and ‘will do’ culture.

I hope these 8 points will provide some useful ideas as to how you will change the way you lead and work with your people.

If you would like any support with your Leadership journey please contact me on 07912 143040 or email me at