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Building High-Performance Teams

There are many definitions we can find about the concept of “High-Performance Team”, and trying to establish a baseline for this opinion I found the following, which is quite aligned to my experience working and building these teams.

“Teams where there’s absolute trust among their members, where each one’s roles are fixed, but are flexible at the same time and unites them with a commitment that leads them to get involved towards achieving a shared objective” (Barragán, 2019)

Building high-performance teams – Selection is everything

I can tell you with certainty that the selection process is the key to build a high-performance team and as such, you have to invest the necessary time and effort:

Candidates. The objective is to identify people who can contribute with their skills and abilities, who have the necessary attitude and energy, technical knowledge is desirable but can always be acquired.

Interviews. Beyond the selection process, which is always important, we must ensure that our team takes part in it. It is from this point where the bond between the team members begins since everyone is creating something from the ground up.

Selection. At this point, we must balance the impressions the team have on the candidates against the real needs of the team, differentiate between what we want and what we really need. Then it is time to make the decision of which candidate to select and that is the responsibility of the team leader. As it is also to communicate to the rest of the team the reason behind the selection if we are successful in doing so the bond of trust is created and strengthened.

Trust your instincts. If you surprise yourself thinking “Mmmm, I don’t know” about a candidate, there is no need to make a decision until you find the ideal candidate, the one who makes us think “We found it”. It’s amazing how many of the team members could share these feelings, and again, it’s just a matter of listening to the team.

Leading high-performance teams – Trust and communication

A high-performance team leader does not push the team members to make things happen, the leader supports, communicates, guides, and works alongside the team. If the members of the team walk together and by their own means toward the goals, it means we were successful in the selection process.

Communicate. It is not only about communicating objectives, metrics, mission, vision and all that organizational structure that is certainly indispensable and important but also to provide the team with a wider picture, a more strategic point of view that is generally reserved for the leadership positions of a company. This strategic vision will put the team in a unique position that will allow them to exploit its capabilities.

This point also refers to our ability to create secure and assertive communication channels and spaces for the entire team, the more information, and channels available we have, the union and performance level of the team will grow faster and smoother.

Trust. Let us give our team members the opportunity to propose and allow them to make mistakes, from a team of this nature we expect solutions and proposals, not people waiting around for them to be told how to do things. Let us listen to their feedback, a high performance team criticizes and proposes and the only way to encourage this response is to consider such feedback in the decision making, it is useless to have a team that only accepts instructions and guidelines as they are, we do not want them to just execute, we want them to build new things.

In the end, the role of a high-performance team leader is more similar to the role of a mentor, a coach, someone who listens, who guides, who encourages communication, respect amongst individuals, creativity, someone who gives the team clarity about what they represent to the company and the impact they do.

About the Author

Gibran Lemus works as a Sales Operations Manager at Wizeline.