10 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams: Part 2

High Performing Teams This is the third part of a three-part blog series on high-performing teams. The first article was about how to turn your team into the team that everyone wants to work for. The second article went into detail about five of the ten characteristics of high-performing teams.

High Performing Teams (HPT) are the teams everyone wants to work for.  They get so much done, and have a lot of fun doing so.

Many of us want to see our teams as already being HPT’s, but if we are honest, we can see where our teams fall short and then develop strategies to help them get there.

As previously mentioned, in the last post we discussed the first five characteristics:

  1. Open & Clear Communication
  2. Defined Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mutual Trust
  4. Effective Decision-Making
  5. Coordinative Relationships

In this post, we will discuss the last five:

  1. Clear Goals
  2. Participative Leadership
  3. Managing Conflict
  4. Value Diversity
  5. Positive Atmosphere

Clear Goals

Is your team clear on what their goals are?  What percentage of their time is spent actually fulfilling those goals?  If that percentage is below 80%, what needs to be deleted, delegated, diminished, or delayed so that the team can stay focused?

Also, are the goals set up in a S.M.A.R.T. format?  If the goals are not tangible and clear, there will be debate as to whether or not they were achieved.

Finally, please be sure to activate each team member’s core values in order for them to fully commit to those goals.

Participative Leadership

When watching HPT’s in action, it is often hard to tell who the leader is. Members of HPT’s tend to push each other to bring out the best in each other and give ideas as to how the goals should be achieved. Often times teams vote on the course that should be taken and then all members of the team align to achieve it.

Managing Conflict

HPT’s resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently. They don't allow for resentment to build between team members. Other team members smell tension and they will encourage the tensions to be resolved.

Usually team members attack the ideas while affirming the team member who suggested the idea but sometimes egos can get frayed and conflict occurs.

Conflict is dealt with directly and honestly. They do everything they can to attack the problem and not each other.

Value Diversity

The best teams that I have seen have a good, balanced mix of Myers-Briggs types. As such, they cover each other's blind spots really well.

They also have people on the team of different backgrounds and levels of experience. This diversity assures that the best options are executed.

Diversity is a major reason why high-performing teams are very effective decision-makers.

Positive Atmosphere

High-performing team members contribute everything they can to maintaining a positive atmosphere.  Typically they become really good at energizing team members, communicating transparently, and staying flexible while generating options to lock on the solution. These teams know that they are going to succeed and that belief contributes to the positive atmosphere.

How does your team measure against these 10 characteristics?  Where do you want to start to advance these characteristics across your team?  Do you want to strengthen a strength or contain a weakness?

If you have the right team members, your team can become an HPT.

Chew On This: What does your team need most to become a high-performing team?

Ryan Bailey is a Leadership Coach who advances excellence across leaders and their teams.

When Two Departments Collide

When Two Departments Collide

What is it like for you when you know two of your departments are clashing?  What’s it like watching the waste, turnover, and disengagement?  What have you tried to do to bring unity to the company?  Have you grown frustrated?  Have you become resigned that it will just be that way?

You are not alone.

Workplace conflict across departments is common and, unfortunately, extremely costly.  Often times the way leaders try to resolve these inter-departmental issues is by focusing on the present situation instead of focusing on the interpersonal dynamics.

For example, let’s say a marketing department comes up with a slick campaign that requires a little more budget, but the finance department won’t release the funds. Maybe a leader would come in and just try to resolve the issue by seeing what the options are for finding the funds from less important projects or by trying to reduce the campaign.  Whatever solution is found, one department is likely to be disappointed.

Instead of focusing on the present situation, focus on the heart.  Get each department to clearly articulate what their core drivers are.

Discover Core Drivers

One way to discover the core drivers is by asking marketing what the slick campaign represents to them.  Ask finance what the holding of the funds represents to them.

At first they may think that what you are asking for is obvious to all, but ask them to really get to the core.  Listen for values that can’t be further reduced.

So, for example, the core is not about making more money or staying on budget.  The core is about something deeper.

An acronym that I use to help me know when a team has gotten to the bottom of it is the acronym “SLAVES.”  It stands for:

  • Security
  • Love
  • Acceptance
  • Value
  • Enjoyment
  • Significance

Listen for a tailored message that encompasses one of these six core drivers.  Make sure both departments understand each other’s core drivers.

Have each of them spell out what it means to them when the core driver is achieved.

Now, once you know what the core driver is, address the problem from that perspective.

Conflict Resolution

If achieving high levels of enjoyment is what drives marketing, then have marketing AND finance partner together to see how else this high enjoyment can be achieved.

If finance wants security, have both finance AND marketing work on solutions for they can achieve greater security for finance.

Both working together to generate solutions on behalf of the other will lead them to learn how to use their differing skills, personalities, and drives for each other’s benefit.  This will bring unity.

At the end of the day, destructive workplace conflict is a people issue more than a philosophical issue.  When people are united and know they have each other’s best interest at heart, constructive conflict can help to generate the best possible solutions for all.  High performing teams know what that is like.

To resolve destructive conflict quickly, define what the core drivers are.  Then have those in conflict partner together to find ways to meet those core drivers for one another.

Chew On This:

  • What is your core driver?

If you have any questions feel free to email me at or call (404) 421-8120.

Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.