Being a leader on a team of any size comes with challenges. Often, leaders spend much of their time devising ways to empower their high-performance teams and increase productivity. But productivity alone does not make a high-performance team.
Effective leaders must consider efficiency, productivity, and positivity when elevating team performance. Use the five strategies listed below to empower your high-performance team, and encourage enthusiasm, efficiency, and effectiveness in your team members.
Clearly Define Goals & Expectations
As a high-performance team leader, defining and establishing clear goals and expectations is imperative to improving team performance. After all, your team can’t succeed without first knowing how success is defined.
This definition of “success”—and of a high-performing team—should clarify the goals and expectations by which team members operate. When high-performance teams know what is expected of them, they are more likely to fulfill their highest potential.
Keep in mind that a high-performance team is an evolving system. Goals, challenges, relationships, and even team members, can and will change.
Clarify Roles & Responsibilities
Clarifying specific roles and responsibilities goes a long way in elevating your team’s performance. Each team member must be clear on their role, as well as the roles of their teammates. Without clear roles and responsibilities, confusion, frustration—and often, competition—will arise.
As a leader of a high-performance team, it is your job to know and understand your team members’ talents and skills. When defining and assigning roles, make sure to apply this knowledge. Correctly allocating tasks and aligning skills and strengths with responsibilities empowers high-performance teams to achieve their goals.
Remember that team members often know less about their teammates’ responsibilities than you do. Take time as a team to discuss roles and define boundaries.
Establish Clear, Concise Communication
It’s hard to overstate the importance of clear communication in elevating your team’s performance. Miscommunication, more often than not, leads to failure.
Communicating about things that matter will improve your team’s performance. As a team, define what “matters.” Decide what to communicate, how, and how often. Create a communication structure that works for everyone and ensures that important information is being shared—to the right people, at the right time, and through the right channels.
Proper communication also helps team members establish accountability. Thoughtful, constructive feedback from team members and leaders not only helps people understand where they stand, but it also allows for course correction—saving valuable time and resources resulting in greater productivity.
Conduct Purposeful Meetings
When leading a high-performance team, it’s important to remember that meetings cost resources—time, money, energy, and brainpower. Team meetings can elevate your team’s performance, or they can distract you from your goals.
Regardless of your industry, time in meetings means time away from active project work. To lead purposeful meetings:
- Be specific about what needs to be accomplished. Create and follow an agenda when needed.
- Place time limits to keep team members focused and on task.
- Discourage crosstalk, while encouraging side conversations and productive asides via email or over coffee.
- Give constructive feedback, and encourage a communication style of accountability.
- Listen. One of the most valuable leadership skills is listening to your high-performing team members.
Trust Your Team (aka Avoid Micromanagement)
Remember, your high-performance team needs to work from a foundation of trust. But as a leader, it can be tricky not to insert yourself into your team’s day-to-day roles and responsibilities.
To empower your high-performance team, be judicious with your direct involvement. Remember the creativity, intelligence, and dedication of your team and trust them to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. By carefully choosing when and how you work with your team, you can enhance your team’s performance without sacrificing productivity.
With trust and understanding, your team members will feel safe enough to:
- Keep each other accountable.
- Engage in healthy, spirited discussions when necessary.
- Share ideas freely.
Trusting your teammates—and yourself—to execute their roles and responsibilities to their highest potential ultimately leads to faster iteration, greater innovation, and improved performance.
For more information on effective leadership, encouraging high-performance teams, and more, visit dblatimore.com.