Leadership skills to build a high performing team

Building a team isn’t as easy, but it’s not rocket science, either. It’s not only about calling out for pizza and making sure everybody gets along okay in team meetings. Getting a team to work together takes skill.

I have learned a lot about teaming from two great authors who have clear frameworks that are easily understood: Jon Katzenbach and Patrick Lencioni. Below I summarise my key learnings from the through the five basics every team leader needs to pay attention to.

  1. Define the Performance Challenge

Be clear about the performance challenge the team is solving. A team is not a team unless they have a clear performance challenge they have to work together to solve. To be a team challenge, it must require the input and work of the collective, not be a problem that one super smart person could solve.

  1. Establish Role Clarity

Does everyone know what they are supposed to be doing? Do they know what others are accountable for? If not, hold a meeting and clear this all up. Without role clarity, no amount of team building will help move your team forward.

  1. Right skills, right job, right person

Seems obvious? It is. However that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As the team leader, you have to get really clear about what skills are needed now and for the foreseeable future. You have to create jobs with this kind of clarity and either hire for them or transition people internally into the roles you need.

  1. Build relationships of trust and respect among team members

This is critical for teaming to happen. As leaders, we must create an environment in which trust and respect are at the core of team interactions..

This is possibly the most challenging thing to do. Trust is elusive; you know it most when it’s absent. Co-workers don’t have to like each other to work together, but they must respect each other.

  1. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate

Most of us walk through the door with our immediate focus on what’s going wrong. In the process, we fail to value what’s going right. Stay connected as a team leader to the good things that are happening every day, and let people know you see them. Appreciation is an active search for what’s right with whatever or whomever you come in contact with.

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