The benefits of great teams at work are obvious and many, from the positive work environment they create to increased productivity to better work output from employees. While many leaders recognize some of the traits of high-performing teams, it can be harder to figure out how to instill those characteristics into their employees.
Luella Chavez D’Angelo, the former vice chancellor for enterprise development at the University of Colorado South Denver, delivered a talk on this very topic (her June 26, 2018, EduTalk presentation was titled “Do You Have an A-Team? 13 Traits of High-Performance Teams”). In case you missed it, here are a few tips on how you as a manger or leader can help nurture and build excellent teams that in turn have a tremendous positive impact on your entire organization:
Communicate like a master. High-performance teams are aligned around a shared vision. They are adept at giving and receiving feedback at all levels of the organization. They bring problems to the surface so they can address and correct them. All of these efforts require good communication! So, ask questions and listen. Encourage open discussions among employees (and between managers and employees) and invite input and ideas from everyone at your organization. Talk about issues, even the difficult ones.
Build good relationships. The best company cultures are the ones where employees feel respected, comfortable and supported. You can foster that kind of environment at your workplace by treating all employees like they are important and their ideas matter. Create a culture of trust, where employees are allowed an appropriate level of autonomy. Encourage employees to come together outside of work sometimes too by offering teambuilding activities and other social events.
Uphold a positive work environment. This goes hand in hand with relationship-building. Above all, make sure you maintain an encouraging, constructive environment at the workplace where people feel valued and heard. Conflicts are bound to happen sometimes, but when they do, make sure you address them directly and in a timely manner to maintain a strong, cooperative team that trusts one another.
Put goals front and center. This is one of the keys to building outstanding teams. Aligning employees to achieve a vision takes consistent effort. You can’t simply print out a list of objectives and pass it around at your team meeting. You must continually remind your team of the path forward: where your company is headed and the milestones you intend to achieve together to get there. Empowering people—your “champions”—to work toward those goals is also essential.
The right team can take your organization to new heights, but it takes effort on your part. Cultivate an environment that allows people to flourish and achieve any goal you put in front of them. You have a big influence on the cohesiveness of your team and the commitment level of the members on it. Do your job effectively, and you’ll be rewarded with a hard-working, high-performing team that is engaged and dedicated.