A high performing team is always created by an effective leader. Conversely, if an organization is full of performance issues you need only to look at leadership to diagnose the cause of the problem.
Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.
Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be good, you must exceed customers’ expectations. This takes a coordinated effort of individuals that work together toward a common goal. Everyone must be on the same page. Individuals who are qualified and intelligent but do not work well with others will lead to failure. The responsibility for that failure ultimately rests with the leadership.
Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture that allows your employees to challenge, to question, and to create. Get to know every member of your team and not just the people with whom you are comfortable or those with seniority and experience. You should have a diversity of talent. Some may have talent for big picture systematic thinking and planning. Others may have superb attention to detail and getting things done right. And yet others may be great consensus builders with keen understanding of interpersonal relationships. What is each person’s strength? Encourage each team member to leverage his or her strengths.
Building a high performing team depends on the leader’s ability to construct relationships within the team. As leader you must establish very clear goals and demonstrate full commitment to their achievement.
Trust is essential to success of the team. People must feel free to ask questions with the confidence that they will receive support and the information that they need. There must be honest, complete and open communication throughout the group.
Competency is important when creating highly effective teams. The personal competencies necessary for teamwork are technical and interpersonal skills, possibility attitudes, and the desire and ability to achieve goals. Technical competency is a thorough understanding of how to do the job and the skills required to fulfill the job requirements. Interpersonal skills are those skills required to successfully interact with others. Possibility attitudes include “All Hands On” confidence and a belief in one’s ability to positively influence outcomes. Each individual team member must bring high levels of personal and technical competencies. Every individual has a personal responsibility to make a positive contribution to overall team performance. Every team member knows his/her job, but they collectively have the attitude that each person on that team will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
A skillful leader empowers an engaged team which creates loyal customers and business success.
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