How to Spot a High-Performing Team

More often than not, when a team's numbers are below targets, many managers wonder who in their team is under-performing. They shift into a type of submerged "panic" mode where decisions, orders, criticism, and even threats slowly start to surface. In other words, maximum control mode kicks-in where both team members and managers scramble to push numbers higher.

This type of “drive” comes from one direction only: it’s results-focused driven. When you manage for results, you shift people from the realm of human capability to the realm of numbers. When you are in the realm of numbers, you manage for survival. When you manage for survival, your team recognizes that fear is the driving force behind their existence. All of this is leading to one point: worry. When we worry, we are focusing on the future. When we focus on the future, we lose sight and clarity of what we need to do now and it’s in 'nowness' that we need to perform our best… not the future. Work in panic, and the results will be those created out of panic. Work on focus, and the results will be clear, accurate and of high standard.

Fortunately for both managers and teams, there is a better solution.

Manage for Performance

Manage for performance, not results. Whilst this doesn't sound like anything new, high-performing teams will always produce better results in the form of revenue, productivity, quality, engagement, utilization and creativity/innovation. However, where many organizations fall short is that they define performance goals against results, but fail to coach on the actual performance piece required to achieve those results. Why not focus on building skills that improve performance so that the numbers pitfall can be avoided.

What a High-Performing Team Looks Like

Leaders who manage for high performance get more out of their teams. The team is more committed, they are more open in communications, more engaged towards results and very supportive of each other. This in turn leads to greater financial returns, customer satisfaction, and trust within the group as the team is achieving the desired results.

It all depends on team dynamics but here are some ways to notice a high-performing team:

1. They sit in close proximity to each other.

2. They immediately head for the white-board or a meeting room to solve any arising issues before they get out of control.

3. They are very approachable.

4. They prefer to talk face to face when they can.

5. They often go out for lunches together.

6. They respect, understand and work with their team member's work-life priorities.

7. They gather often to discuss progress, improvements and how to support each other's growth.

8. They can openly express their opinions for the greater good.

9. They feel like an extension to your family.

10. They don’t look for "Band-Aid"/short-term solutions.

11. They don't back-chat their team members.

12. They are given time for creative thinking and innovation.

What is The Common denominator/How to Create a High-Performing Team?

High performing teams have one thing in common: They are generally high in Emotional Intelligence skills (e.g. Empathy, Diversity, Awareness, Social Skills) and genuinely care about each other's development and well-being. Therefore, investing time in developing Emotional Intelligence is key in building skills that will allow people to create high-performing, self-supporting teams that will yield great results.

Behavior, positive or negative, effects people

Humans are instinctively good at adapting to their environment, no matter what the conditions. This means they will be affected by physical, mental and emotional patterns in their environment. Therefore, it is very fair to say that your ability to recognize your emotions and how it affects others is going to have a clear impact on team dynamics, as is other people's handling of their emotions This is actually the first step in training Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness.

Emotional Intelligence also builds:

  • Trust in teams
  • Responsibility for performance
  • Adaptability (diversity)
  • Self-Initiative
  • Motivation
  • Influence
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • More...

What Will You Choose to Do Next?

If you are facing organizational behavioral issues, or a looking at creating a more innovative workforce, or perhaps you are looking to improve team dynamics, it's best to invest in good coaches, mentors and people who are committed to help you succeed in change.

BTW, Do I know you? Thank you very much for taking the time to read my articles! I am honored to be writing on LinkedIn. My passion is helping organizations and people achieve positive behavioral change. I also keeping busy trying to solve the youth suicide issue caused by hikikomori. I've seen and experienced the impacts of EI in various organizations and personally, it has flipped my own life into an amazing journey.

I invite you to connect, and hope that one day our paths will cross for the greater good.

Gabriele Ciminelli