Written by Anna Bernstein on 03 Jul 2014
A few weeks ago we wrote a post on how to create a high performance team within your organisation. Today I would like to follow that post with some advice on how to manage your newly created High Performance Team.
Don’t Manage Your High Performance Team!
Yes you heard me right; when it comes to high performance teams it is often better to assume the role of leader, rather than that of management. People that thrive within high performance teams do so because they are highly driven, ambitious and often extremely competitive These characteristics and personality traits are common among those that prefer a more independent approach towards their work; they have developed a style and approach that works for them and they are happier when left to get on with it.
So what can you do to get the best performance from your team?
As mentioned, the best approach when it comes to high performance teams is to lead rather than try to take control and manage. You can, however, still ensure that targets are reached and goals achieved by nurturing your team in order to improve morale, increase motivation and maximise performance.
Know Your Team
You should have already done this to some extent if you followed our advice when assembling your team, but getting to know your team individually is a vital step in being able to lead effectively. Spend time getting to know each person individually and discuss their strengths, weaknesses and ambitions. Armed with this information you can then ensure that you allow people to play to their strengths and help them improve on their weaknesses.
Build Strong Relationships
Despite their natural preference to work independently and even compete against one another, it is possible to create strong working relationships within a high performance team. Strong working relationships lead to higher team morale and increased productivity. As the leader it is up to you to allow these relationships to grow by presenting opportunities from which they can develop. Activities out with the work environment, such as taking the team out for lunch, are great ways in which to do this.
Incentive, Motivation and Competition
As explained, those who excel within high performance teams are by nature highly driven and highly competitive. So it makes sense to play to these characteristics by ensuring that the right incentive is in place to motivate and encourage this competitive nature in a positive and productive manner.
Knowing your team individually you can set personal goals that will be rewarded by something that they would appreciate and value. Some individuals may appreciate and value a bonus or commission; others may be more motivated by paid time off to spend with family. It is wrong to assume that everyone is motivated by the same rewards, so again spend time to get to know and understand your team.
Other times you should encourage their natural competitiveness by creating a competition that includes the whole team. Perhaps create a board that keeps track of each person’s performance and achievements. Competitions such as these encourage and reward healthy competitiveness and can be great ways of boosting performance during low periods of productivity.
Be a Mentor and Lead with Encouragement
Finally, to become a good leader it is important that you exist to mentor and encourage your team to develop both personally and as a team. Take time to regularly catch up with each team member and listen to their thoughts, opinions and ideas.
Don’t just listen though; take action! This may be in the form of providing additional training, setting more realistic goals, or simply by improving the overall work environment.
The important part though is to actually listen then take action; in doing this your team will feel valued, which will increase their respect towards you as a leader. This will not only help develop your relationship with your team but also provide you with valuable information on how you can help improve the overall performance, productivity and success of your high performance team.