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The Top 5 Habits of High-Performing Teams

by The Leadership Development Group

One of the defining aspects of effective leadership lies in how well your team performs on a regular basis. As a direct reflection on management, high-performing teams who consistently accomplish their goals on time with minimal problems are intensely sought after. High-performing teams collaborate well together, deliver quality work in a timely manner, and remain consistent in their execution and ability to adapt to new circumstances. Creating and maintaining a high-performing team is the key to success in any business.

Many organizations across the health ecosystem realize that executing on strategy and driving toward their mission takes a lot more than individuals working in silos,” notes TLD Group’s CEO, Tracy Duberman, Ph.D. “When teams work effectively together they can create a whole greater than the sum of their parts.”

Yet, it’s often tough to discern the difference that sets apart one team’s productivity from another—what, exactly, is it that allows one team to perform so well while others fall behind? The key to curating a team that consistently delivers high-quality, timely work is through the formation of persistent habits that create a better, more effective workplace. By implementing the five habits we’ve listed below, you’ll be able to better equip your team for success. 

1. High-Performing Teams Regularly Track Their State of Performance

One of the easiest ways to increase performance is to track it over time. Consistently measuring and tracking overall team productivity allows you to view the big picture, rather than day-to-day tedium. Small details that may be difficult to notice in a day-to-day workflow can become obvious when seen back-to-back in comparison, allowing leadership to better identify and solve any obstacles to achieve clearer, more concise communication and smoother operations. Tracking KPIs helps you to better understand your business’ output and find solutions to any performance barriers. The KPIs you track should vary based on your unique goals. For instance, if you’re looking to improve operations, you may want to track workload efficiency and/or overall task performance. Reviewing actual numbers on your daily or monthly operations can help identify areas in need of improvement which the team can act upon, contributing to a higher-performing team. 

It may be cliché, but the saying “work smarter, not harder” is completely true. Forbes found that employees who are able to identify which tasks need to be done sooner or could be improved upon are up to 45 times more likely to start projects and complete them and nearly 21 times less likely to miss smaller tasks in their daily work. 

2. Align on Team Goals and Priorities

Ensuring all team members remain on the same page is critical. In a survey, ClearCompany found that 97% of employees believe lack of alignment in a team negatively impacts the final outcome.

Setting goals and ensuring the entire team aligns on their unique roles, responsibilities, priorities, and expectations creates an environment that encourages stronger collaboration and more efficiently executed work. To encourage the development of a high-performing team, understand your employees’ individual strengths and weaknesses to better align them with roles and projects they will flourish in. Having a defined goal in mind operates to not only motivate employees but functions as a crucial part of the workflow. Clearly set expectations give team members a better understanding of their own workload and their coworkers’ roles as well enhance communication and team effectiveness.

3. Prioritize Team Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a major aspect of strong teamwork. In fact, we’ve already highlighted the importance of strong emotional intelligence in leadership and discussed ways to better develop your own on our blog. But it’s important to understand the difference between individual emotional intelligence and team emotional awareness. Team emotional awareness encompasses self-awareness; the ability to better notice, understand and respect one’s own feelings, and the ability to read the emotions of others and react accordingly. 

Maintaining a strong sense of team emotional awareness and empathy throughout the team strengthens everyone’s ability to work more cohesively as a group. High-performing team members are able to better understand different perspectives, place increased value on diversity, and empathize to increase team cohesion when working in an environment that fosters emotional awareness. But how can leadership best prioritize this? 

Begin with leading by example: practice self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication with each of your team members. Always wait to react, so that you are able to approach your employees with a level-headed mindset while considering their unique attitudes. By remaining aware of each employee’s individual feelings and taking these into account, leadership can avoid potential conflicts before they even begin, and encourage team members to do the same. 

4. Engage in Open and Honest Communication

According to the Harvard Business Review, communication patterns are the biggest indicator of a team’s success, contributing to high performance more than every other studied factor combined. The study found that high-quality communication routinely included:

  • Each member talking and listening in equal amounts
  • Individual members connecting one-on-one with each other, rather than only with leadership
  • Members feeling comfortable to leave, gather information elsewhere, and bring it back to discuss with the rest of the team

These three characteristics combine to create an open, honest line of communication that encourages high-performing teams to listen to one another, participate, and contribute constructive feedback. Communication underscores each of the other four habits outlined in this blog post—without strong, consistent communication, the other four habits fall apart. 

Tara Satlow, Ph.D., Senior VP at TLD Group, highlights trust as the basis to effective communication in the workplace, Once trust is established, team members feel safe to speak openly and freely. The safety to speak freely opens the door for team members to surface important challenges and barriers that may be standing in the way of team effectiveness—whether that be patient safety issues, unhelpful group dynamics, or inefficient processes, the first step to overcoming barriers is feeling safe enough to surface them.”

5. Practice Effective Conflict Resolution

Nothing slows collaborators down like internal stress and division. Problems, delays, and personal conflicts are an inevitable part of any workplace. Navigating ways to effectively and adequately address your team’s internal and external problems is crucial to maintaining an on-task, goal-oriented team. Well done conflict resolution is built on other habits of high-performing teams. Proper communication and emotional awareness combine to create the foundation of healthy and effective conflict resolution. In order to effectively navigate interpersonal conflicts, leadership must be well-versed in both habits to best handle the situation. Find ways to have employees openly communicate problems to clarify the basis of the issue, actively listen to each party involved, and engage team members in finding solutions. 

Final Thoughts

Curating high-performing teams that consistently deliver well-executed, on-time, and dependable work begins with daily habits set by leadership. TLD Group’s team development experts are able to help you better understand ways to implement and cultivate these habits among your staff. 

Get in touch with us to begin forming habits among your employees to create a high-performing team. 

Topics: Leadership Development, Leadership, Virtual Teaming, Leadership Resources, Team Development, Collaboration