Leading in A Team Environment
By Kenneth Moten
Imagine a work environment filled with employees who share a common vision; set ambitious performance goals; yield high quality metrics; and hold each other accountable to achieve outstanding results. This scenario is a reality for many successful compaies who have high performance teams comprised of a cohesive diverse group of individuals who have varying skill sets that complement one another. These types of performance teams stem from the foundation of an outstanding leader and organization.
The key to a winning team is leadership. A leader that demonstrates integrity, authenticity, and competency. A leader that people trust and has formulated excellent communication skills to inspire the staff to embrace the company’s vision.
Everything starts with the leader.
TRUST AND RESPECT
A strong leader can inspire ownership into the team through trust and respect. This can be done through the simple act of listening and understanding their team’s perspective.
COMMUNICATE VISION AND GOALS
Employees must understand the company’s vision and their role and responsibility as it relates to attaining the vision. It is essential that everyone shares a clearly defined target and that leadership communicates those goals. A common goal will rally the team and get them focused. There should be a plan or a set of “blueprints” for action(s) to achieve the goals.
INSPIRE NOT DRIVE
High performance teams need not be pushed, but they need to feel inspired and of the belief they are on a mission that could change the world. The inspiration does not have to be specific and tangible—it can be as simple as connecting emotionally with an employee. Leaders should use language that encourages forward thinking and creates energy and excitement within the team. Being enthusiastic and energetic is a huge part of inspiring people but you must also take a visionary approach to affecting change; possibly by allowing employees to help develop an innovative strategy with you.
SUPPORT RISK TAKING
High performance teams go beyond meeting deadlines and staying within the budget. They go beyond maintaining the status quo being mindful not to push the envelope too much. Any risk taken will be intelligent and calculated. Leaders of high performance teams should provide latitude and flexibility that encourages moderate risk taking and other potential innovations.
REWARD AND FEEDBACK
More than anything, the leader of a high-performance team needs to treat the members like super stars while creatively rewarding them for outstanding performance. Continuously provide clear and specific feedback on an individual and team basis. Keep them motivated with incentives and praise.
A true, high performance team will over time establish norms for the team behavior and decision making. They will eventually function independently and be self-directed. They will solve problems thereby achieving results with little assistant. With excellent leadership comes the possibility of having sustainable, high performance teams that will achieve dramatic results in a short period of time for your company.