By definition, a high-performing team is a skilled group of employees working in cross-functional areas of an organization who are focused on achieving a common goal. In today’s digitized and highly remote workforce, assembling a team of this nature has become essential to the success of a business. However, its assembly is much more complex than simply pulling leaders from across multiple departments to collaborate on a project.
Organizing a high-performing team requires considering elements such as the:
- scope of work
- competencies of employees
- personality types of your group members
- management style each member responds to best
Top soft skills to seek out when assembling high-performing teams
According to the Predictive Index—a software company specializing in talent optimization— strategically designing teams can “contribute to a more positive work environment and enhance the overall work experience.” High-performing teams universally understand what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and why it’s important. However, this cannot be achieved without recognizing the soft skills essential to a successful, high-performing team.
1 – Adept problem-solving abilities: The importance of problem-solving in the workplace can’t be overemphasized. Employees who can define a problem, gather information, break down processes, and form a solution will be highly beneficial to your team.
2 – Effective communication skills: Effective communication helps to increase team success through improved productivity, trust, and engagement. Employees who feel they are listened to are likelier to offer valuable insights and feedback. To that same end, it’s important that team members feel empowered to offer responses—communicating their ideas without fear of judgment.
3 – Strong collaboration skills: The ability to approach challenges and work together toward a common goal while asking for assistance when needed fosters a collaborative team environment. Overcoming obstacles with this attitude can lead to increased productivity and the successful execution of bottom-line initiatives.
4 – High sense of self-motivation: Self-motivated individuals want to make an impact and set checkpoints to ensure they are on track. According to a McKinsey study, 91 percent of companies with “effective performance management systems say their goals are linked to business priorities.” This means that employees are more motivated and engaged when they understand how their work fulfills a bottom-line business initiative.
Benefits of high-performing teams
The benefits of assembling a high-performing team are endless, yet all center around the idea of fostering a unique culture of innovation. This does not mean days filled with brainstorming and group discussions. New research from Front, a customer communication platform, suggests that the highest-performing teams have leveraged social connections to engineer higher success. The benefits of a well-designed team are as simple as the following, yet still essential to the execution of projects.
- Cohesive team dynamics: Research from PsychNet claims that genuine human interaction among team members, even when discussing the sometimes frowned upon “non-work” issues, helps build bonds. Investing genuine time in their relationship resulted in stronger teamwork, mutual respect, and the likelihood to approach one another for help and valuable communication.
- Clearly defined roles: Frequent member interaction helps to define each member’s purpose and responsibilities within the project. The most appropriately established roles are done in a way that utilizes members’ strengths and talents where they are needed. Role clarity cannot be established without communication among members; however, a culture of accountability is simultaneously fostered when this is achieved.
- Collective goals: Without a clear vision of a team’s goals, conflicting priorities and points of misunderstanding can impede productivity. A PwC survey of 540 employees across industries and companies found that employees considered shared purpose to be twice as important as traditional motivators like compensation. High-performing teams include members who understand both the purpose of their role within the organization and their role within the team. A universal goal unites members under an initiative and serves as a driving force for achievement.
- Effective work practices: Highly effective teams know how to use their time wisely and do not waste time revisiting the same issues. Poorly run or seemingly pointless meetings contribute to employee dissatisfaction, cost the corporation money, and drain overall motivation. High-performing teams meet with purpose and use their time wisely. This might be accomplished by following an agenda or arriving at the meeting with work prepared beforehand. These practices can eliminate the risk of team members losing ambition or initiative.
- Continuous team development: A TalentLMS survey found that “91 percent of companies and 81 percent of employees say up-skilling and re-skilling training boosted work productivity. In comparison, 80 percent of employees reported that such training boosted their confidence.” This culture of constant learning, and both professional and personal growth, will positively impact employee, team, and corporate performance.
While assembling a high-performing team may appear challenging, Predictive Index offers services that make this incredibly achievable. The organization combines behavioral science with corporation objectives to source candidates well-suited for the role. Their team assessment tool provides a simple, three-step plan to build a winning team.
As a certified Predictive Index partner, TalentRise can help you design successful high-performing teams. Request a discovery strategy session here.
This blog was authored by TalentRise Leadership Coach Kristen Lampert.