Creating High Performing Teams

  • Article
  • 21 July 2021

Success in today’s work environment is heavily due to team performance. No one person can achieve more than a high performing team. A team is more than a group of people who are focused on achieving a goal. A team is a cohesive unit that consists of interdependent members who rely on each other to get the job done.

What do high performing teams do better than others? Based on my experience, supported by research, these are the top ten things that these teams do very well.

Collective Mission –Understanding and committing to the collective mission or purpose of the team is paramount to ensure that people are “on the same page” and pulling in the same direction. Lack of clarity about team purpose or mission often results in team members setting their own direction which is inconsistent with other members of the same team.

Establish and Execute on Goals – Teams that are focused on shared goals and outcomes achieve more. Why? It is because they are aligned toward a common vision and committed to that vision. There are no excuses for not understanding where they are headed and how they are going to get there.

Interdependence – Everyone on the team has a role to play. Members of effective teams understand each other’s roles and responsibilities and know that success is dependent upon all team members performing their roles effectively.

Decision Making – Teams need to determine how decisions will be made. Will it be by consensus? Democratic or majority rules? Does the most senior person make the decision? Understanding the decision-making process and accountability creates clarity and fosters less conflict.

Stable Team Membership – It takes a lot of time for team members to learn how to relate to each other and work best with each other. Having a stable team provides the opportunity for teams to work together at an optimal level.

Constant Feedback –Team members need to know how they are doing to stay motivated and to deal with performance issues. The most effective teams provide regular and continuous feedback on how each member is doing. Feedback is expected and given.

Challenge the Status Quo – Members of the team must feel secure in challenging the status quo without feeling that they are vulnerable and at risk of being terminated, chastised, or sanctioned. Only through constructive criticism are changes and improvements are made. This requires psychological safety.

Team Based Rewards – Reward structures based on individual performance leads to an increased focus on individual performance. High performing teams are rewarded based on collective results, combined with individual performance.

Continuous Learning – High functioning teams learn from both their mistakes and failures, applying those learning’s moving forward. A culture of continuous improvement inspires team members to improve and develop their skills resulting in even higher levels of performance.

Talent Recruitment – Teams get better by recruiting new talent. Organizations that spend a significant amount of time recruiting the right talent perform better.

Do you agree with the above? What would you propose as additional factors?

For assistance in developing a high performing team, contact us at


Dr. Wilma Slenders PhD, PCC

Dr. Wilma Slenders is a renowned change management facilitator, leadership coach, and strategic advisor for organizations of all sizes and industries. Her insights come from over 20 years of hands-on experience and thousands of hours of teaching, consulting on, planning, and executing long-term professional leadership strategies and organizational strategies.

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