Back to Blogs
High Performing Teams V2
Share this Article

High performing teams

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago

Happy teammates all working towards a common goal will bring success.

With football at the forefront of our minds, we have been inspired to consider what it is that makes a winning team, and how employers can best support their own champions. Here we look at how you might refresh how you manage your people and what you can do to ensure they succeed. Watch out though, there are a few footy puns!

  • Best foot forward

  • You need goals to win.

  • Play by the rules

  • Foul play

  • Think about formation

  • Own goals can be turned around.

​Best foot forward

Leadership, not management will ensure your team is successful.

People work best when they feel seen, supported, and have a solid plan of progression. This is best accomplished as part of an equal, open exchange of ideas with the line manager rather an outdated approach where activities are plotted and set by management and outcomes often not often fully understood by the wider staff.

A ‘leadership’ rather than ‘management’ style focuses on the support of the individual and team, encouraging them to feel confident in learning, trying new ideas and aiming for better results. With this approach staff are more likely to feel empowered and motivated to raise new ideas or explore operational challenges; challenges which if left unchecked could erode the wellbeing of your business.

“Run with your team, not out ahead or you can risk losing the confidence and loyalty of staff that want to achieve more.” ​

According to the 2016 Strategic Labour Market Intelligence Report (The Relationship between UK Management and Leadership and productivity) 11% of respondents considered that “not knowing what new management practices to introduce” were a major obstacle, and a further 23% considered this a minor obstacle. ​

You need goals to win!

Building aspirations and raising standards is key for team performance. People join businesses and teams they believe they can contribute to, so it is important everyone understands the bigger picture, the ambition, the prize.

“If you do not believe it, then you have no chance at all.” -Arsene Wenger

Share your vision, tell them how they can play their part and stand by them when they make an effort to do so. This way, you will really will have a great team ready to take on the world.

Play by the rules

As humans, we like to know what we should expect and what is expected of us.

Vague, unwritten rules are a breeding ground for uncertainty and can create grey areas of behaviour or responsibility which can impact success. Clarity of management and communication is critical.

A well-defined job role and clear processes give employees a firm playbook for how they should behave within the business. This clarity inspires confidence. Line managers need to play their part on the pitch too, making clear their expectations, and being accessible to address any concerns, queries or problems that pop up along the way, earning the trust of their staff.

Foul play

When expectations are clear it is important to address any behaviours that are below expectation. A member of staff’s negative behaviours at work can impact the confidence, motivation and satisfaction of the team around them if left unaddressed.

  • Frequent absence – work with HR to identify the issue which may not be easy to understand and explore a better way of working for this staff member. Are they looking for another role? Are they unwell or managing the health of another family member? This is an excellent chance to explore a flexi-working pattern.

  • Disruption at work – if you have an angry, upset or frequently under performing staff member it is worth considering how well they understand their role, what is expected and how their behaviour may be impacting on others within the business. For example gossiping and disrespectful language may be seen by some as fun, but this can erode the wellbeing of a successful team and shouldn’t be overlooked as less important than other behaviours that can be perceived as more directly affecting the businesses profitability and performance.

  • ​Engagement or lack of enthusiasm – is an employee coasting or simply doing the bare minimum? Explore if this is the right role for them, perhaps they would like to expand on their activities or engage in further education. Equally, if you have offered these things and the person is still unresponsive, be sure to address this performance quickly as there is nothing more likely to de-motivate loyal staff than watching a team member who contributes less be allowed to continue leaning on others without redress. ​

  • Poor communication with you or others (this includes disorganisation) - may indicate a lack of interest in the role or an unwillingness to share their thoughts or ideas. Encourage them into the fold, perhaps offer a team member as a mentor to help them align with their colleagues and culture. Make sure they have the tools in place (possibly training) in order to keep you posted on their activity in a way that aligns to their role and working persona.

Think about the formation

We’re not talking 4-4-2 here but a well organised team with players well-matched across their respective roles will go a long way to build a winning team. ​

When building a team consider not only the skills they offer but their personalities too; there is plenty of scope for different people to play a key role in the team. A strong but firm ‘leader’ rather than manager will provide stability and confidence; an attentive and knowledgeable ‘action agent’ will help keep tasks on track and delivered at high quality; a natural enthusiast will be a ‘cheerleader’ to keep up team morale; and someone to play devil’s advocate can ensure all ideas are not just heard but tested for success.

Own goal! You can turn it around.

Own goals in football are almost always the result of high pressure or mistakes made elsewhere on the pitch. At work too, mistakes will most certainly happen and when they do it is important to avoid blame, understand what went wrong and why, then make the changes needed to ensure they are unlikely to occur again. That way the game is turned around!

The quickest way for a mistake to turn toxic is for it to be hidden or passed onto another team member. Provide a safe and transparent platform from which staff can share errors in judgement and seek support to plan a resolution.

But remember, prevention is better than cure! Did the error occur because:

  • They were unfamiliar with a process or system?

  • They did not feel comfortable asking for help?

  • They had no one to pass the issue to?

  • They are suffering personal challenges?

  • The issue does not sit directly within the scope of their role?

  • They are behaving inappropriately and without thought for others?

​All of these issues are preventable and all those involved are accountable for ensuring they understand their part, either in execution or a work role. Sharing the learnings from this will further improve a team’s resilience and build a greater platform for success.

If you are looking for a new player for your team, get in touch with us or visit our blog page for more advice and tips.