Difference Between a Team and a High-Performance Team

A team comprises of two or more than two people grouped to achieve a common objective or a goal. On the other hand, High-Performance Teams are objectively more focused in approach and better than the usual work teams. The members of a High-Performance Teamwork towards the achievement of synergies in business outcomes and attainment of measurable results by aligning all the resources.

High Performing Teams are an extension of the regular teams having a higher sense of commitment towards the objectives or mutual purpose which defines the existence of a group. In a High-Performance Team, each member of the team plays the role of a partner in achieving outstanding and measurable outcomes.

High Performance Teams serve more significant benefits than the usual teams, as the focus is on mutual accountabilities, role expectations are clearly defined and the members can share ideas creatively. Some of the crucial qualities of a high-performance team which differentiates them from a regular team are:

  1. A greater sense of commitment towards the purpose or goals. High-performance teams have a clearly defined mission which is then broken into achievable performance goals for each team member which they are required to pursue. High-Performance teams aim for realising extraordinary goals and are more committed towards the vision.

  2. High-Performance Teams establish relatively more aggressive and ambitious performance goals for the team members as compared to the usual teams. All the team members are motivated for delivering excellence in performance by meeting the challenging goals and have a more profound passion for the achievement of the mission collectively.

  3. The members of a High-Performance Team work collaboratively to discover newer work approaches, principles and practices for realising superior performance benchmarks at work. The work approaches provide clarity on the following pointers:

    • Rules of Decision-Making within the team.

    • Approaches to Creative Problem-Solving within the group.

    • Defining the work standards and regulations which comply with the industry standards.

    • Highlighting the methods of conducting team meetings and communication for ensuring a healthy dialogue and coordination amongst the team members.

    • Establishing the processes from the beginning stage till the end for completing the tasks.

  4. In High-Performance Teams, all the members of the team are individually and jointly accountable for the fulfilment of the common goal or the purpose. Apart from being focused towards the individual roles & accountabilities, the team members acknowledge collective responsibility for the team outcomes whether success or failures.

  5. High-Performance Teams have a Transparent and more open kind of a communication framework. The members engage in a frequent communication for discovering newer or improved ways of reaching the goals, resolving differences by participating in collaborative problem-solving and sharing experiences informally.

  6. High-Performance Teams resolve conflicts amicably and constructively. The team members focus on deriving value addition from the differences and arriving at better decisions. They transform conflicts into opportunities by shifting their focus from the points of variations to the possibilities, which can be tapped by building on the collaborative competencies and resolving the differences.

  7. The members of the High-Performance Teams share a very high sense of Camaraderie and Mutual Respect for each other.

  8. The Team Members of High-Performance Teams share complementary skill sets for meeting the task related challenges and demands efficiently. With compatible or collaborative competencies, the team members achieve greater performance benchmarks at work and deliver outstanding as well as measurable outcomes.

    In case of Average teams, the scope of the job for each team member is narrowly defined and importance is given to specialised skills or competencies. But, the members of the High-Performance Teams usually have multiple and complementary skills with a focus on broader objectives or goals which affect the organisational growth and profitability.

  9. Shared leadership is another vital quality of a high-performance team. Shared leadership invigorates the team members to deliver exceptional outcomes in the workplace and achieve synergies in the results by working collaboratively along with the team members.

  10. Performance Orientation or Personal Initiative is the primary focus of High-Performance Teams. Each member of the team works towards delivering the best by demonstrating exceptional performance at work which in turn will help in the realisation of the team mission or the organisational goals. The team members are empowered and motivated to take individual initiatives within the pre-defined team rules.

  11. High-Performance Teams function best in a Consultative and a Supportive environment. There is a very high level of initiative, sharing of ideas and cohesiveness amongst the team members.

    The members of a High Performing Team play the act as business partners and they enjoy a higher degree of flexibility to achieve the work goals.

    The entire planning and coordination are done by the team members collectively instead of being undertaken by a leader exclusively. But in case of average teams, the responsibility of planning and coordination lies solely with the leader and the team members act as per the instructions and guidelines of the leader. The leader establishes the vision and the strategic road-map for the team members in case of average teams.

  12. Regular Teams are entirely internally focused whereas the High-Performance teams focus more on the broader objectives or goals of the organisation. The objectives are solely not department-centric but are organisation centric.

Building High-Performance Teams with all the qualities mentioned above is not an easy job. The following steps are required to be followed for establishing a high-performance work culture and developing high-performance teams:

  • Creating motivating and challenging performance related goals for the team members, especially when the members are high on achievement motivation.

  • Develop personal leadership competencies and encouraging individual initiative.

  • Hiring the right blend of talent having the crucial mix of skills and abilities.

  • Giving importance to the training and development requirements of the team members so that they may discover innovative methods and newer work approaches for achieving the goals of the team.

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Team Building