Ten Important Characteristics of High-Performance Work Teams

High-Performance work teams comprise a group of highly talented and motivated professionals working together for the achievement of a common goal or business objectives.

High-Performance teams assure the highest levels of performance and productivity, unlike average teams by leveraging the business resources optimally and making best utilisation of the available talents or competencies.

Such teams drive business excellence and achieve business synergies by way of effective planning and execution of the strategies.

Let’s analyse the ten essential characteristics of High-Performance Teams:

  1. Clearly Defined Mission and Goals: High-Performance teams highlight the work goals or the mission which inherently implies their reason for existence. Apart from this, the teams set interim goals periodically and responsible for planning & implementation of relevant decisions or strategies. The expectations are clearly defined and the team members exist with a strong sense of purpose.

    During the stage of Expectation setting, the leader of the team takes care of the following factors:

    • Seeing to it whether the expectations are adequately communicated and effectively to the team members.

    • Ensures understanding of the expectations of the team members by defining and implementing effective communication strategies.

    • Ascertaining that the team members readily accept and act as per the pre-established expectations.

    • Providing necessary motivation and resource-driven support to the team members for ensuring the realisation of the expectations.

  2. Open Communication: The members of the High-Performance work teams enjoy the freedom to share or exchange various types of information, can communicate openly and transparently and give/receive constructive feedback for improving performance at work. Besides this, the team establishes a specific process for the dissemination of vital information amongst the team members.

  3. Mutual Trust and Cohesiveness Amongst the Team Members: The members of the High-Performance teams have mutual trust, share a strong bonding, respect for each other, cooperate and support each other for the realisation of the superordinate goals. Such teams provide maximum opportunities for social interaction in a cross-functional set-up and facilitate reliability and oneness by offering opportunities to the members for participating in cross-functional training programmes.

  4. Proactive and Qualitative Decision-Making and Problem Solving: The members of the High-Performance teams are active and experts in resolving complicated issues and implementing vital decisions successfully together as a group. Decisions which are implemented can be process-driven in nature or initiative driven.

  5. Efficient Conflict Resolution Mechanism: The High-Performance work teams are quick and proactive in understanding the triggering factors or potential sources of conflicts and resolve it with the mutual consent of the team members. Such teams characterise a high level of solidarity and unity, as a result of which are efficient in conflict management by way of effective communication and resolution techniques.

    The members of the teams are trained in conflict management skills and practising interpersonal and communication skills at work for delivering productive outcomes. The team members work in a participative culture and are contribute their innovative ideas or participate in conversations freely.

  6. Meetings are Productive in High-Performance Teams: The meetings are well planned and organised, with more focus given on factors which may help in enhancing overall team performance and maximising productivity.

    The team members contribute brilliant ideas in the meeting for resolving work-related challenges, participate in decision-making and vital information is shared in the meetings.

  7. Clarity of Roles: The members of the High-Performance teams have clarity of their roles as well as the responsibilities of others in the team. They are aware of their duties and accountabilities for fulfilling their work-related obligations and interdependence of every member of the team for realising the ultimate mission or objectives.

  8. High-Performance Work Teams are Innovative and Deliver Productive Outcomes: The members of the High-Performance Teams are more productive and skilled at driving innovative best practices in the workplace, implementing reforms in the systems/processes and achieving record-breaking milestones.

    The team members are experts in benchmark setting and defining the measures for evaluating the productivity in terms of efficiency (analysing the efficiency of the team processes) and effectiveness (quality of the outcomes).

    Innovation and productiveness is measured as per eight dimensions:

    1. Quality improvement,
    2. Time Saving,
    3. Cost Control & Reduction,
    4. Increase in the Output,
    5. Meeting the Committed Deadlines,
    6. Adherence with the Safety Regulations and minimisation of accidents,
    7. Streamlining of the existing systems/processes and
    8. Enhancing Interpersonal Communication.

  9. Strong Leadership: The leaders of the High-Performance teams play a crucial role in setting up strategic framework and course of action for the team members. They define the goals and priorities, ensure effective coordination in various aspects and foster a collaborative environment for enhancing opportunities and delivering successful outcomes.

    The leaders facilitate a participative culture, encourage active participation by the team members in crucial decisions and provide the necessary support as well as guidance to the members of the team.

  10. Provide Maximum Opportunities for Development to the Team Members: The team members can have access to maximum opportunities for personal and professional development to the team members.

    The members of the team can hone their cross-functional skills by way of experiential learning and participate in the project assignments. Various developmental interventions which periodically undertaken in such teams such as classroom training, outdoor training, self-directed learning, coaching & mentoring and feedback sessions are for the benefit of the team members.

For easy remembrance, the characteristics of the High-Performance teams can be explained with the help of the acronym PERFORM:

P implies Purpose of Existence and Strong Value Orientation;

E implies Empowerment of the Team Members;

R suggests Relationship & Open Communication resting on the pillars of Trust & Cooperation;

F means Flexibility & Adaptability;

O means Optimum Outcomes & Productivity which can be measured by using specific measures;

R suggests Recognition, Rewards & Appreciation of Outstanding Performance;

M implies Morale.

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