The Key Principles of Building High-Performance Teams

In this article, we explore the key makeup of a high-performance team, the considerations when building a team and how to ensure goals are aligned by all team members. Written by Letícia Miranda.

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Teams. Whether a sports team, working team or group of entrepreneurs founding their next enterprise; all teams work in different ways. Every team has their own dynamic and, primarily, these dynamics are based on the inherent objectives and motivations, combined with aspects internal to a group and their environment. But is there a way that you can ensure your team is a high-performance one and apply it to ANY team out there? Perhaps...

One of the great challenges facing business leaders is building high-performance teams. We often see teams with several high-performing individuals, but collectively they do not equate to a high-performing team. The result is not as expected. The sum of efforts does not generate synergy.

It is one thing to achieve individual results. It is quite another to get the job done in team and with collaboration in the process. If each member of a team strives for a different outcome or approach, you will likely get nowhere. Many leaders forget that.

Coaching and mentoring, according to research, are extremely efficient and effective in increase results and performance. They can increase self-awareness, focus, to soften unproductive beliefs, to optimise mental and emotional strategies, as well as decision-making and solutions.

Combined with coaching and mentoring, there are a few key principles, patterns, and trends, continually seen in high-performance teams. It is noted that a team permanently undergoes experimentation, exchange and learning processes and a few key characteristics include:

1. Awareness of the objectives, having a clear idea and the purpose of building that team.

2. Knowledge of conditions, such as availability of resources and time limits.

3. Open communication with a view to good relationships. Access to information, freedom of expression and respect among members.

4. Acceptance of individual differences, understanding living with values, culture, and traits of different personalities can strengthen a team.

5. Ability to negotiate and make concessions separating people from problems. Listening, understanding, and then talking, respecting the right of others to express themselves and seeking a win / win solution.

6. Propensity to learn, share and explore actions together. Mentoring is key here and it includes sharing information and knowledge, responsibilities, and tasks. Communicating effectively and giving and receiving feedback are essential.

7. Enthusiasm. A requirement to maintain humour and to be able to accept challenges, also, to overcome obstacles. We all know how vital mindset is.

8. Ethical behaviours and relationships based on mutual respect, trust, and commitment.

9. Flexibility and positive intentions to take advantage of each person's strengths. One should encourage the exchange of roles by listening to them without prejudice, furthering encouragement of shared leadership.

So, there we have nine key characteristics key to high-performing and performance teams.

Nothing is more powerful than a dream, and a team that knows where it wants to go and is proud of that dream, has no limits.

But how do you go about transferring this dream into the minds of your team members? How can you inspire them? Well, one of the most profound impacts on a team is the joint construction of that dream. The key question to be asked to the team is: regardless of the goals defined by the company, organisation or lead individual (such as a founder or CEO), what achievement will make us proud to be part of this team? This question might be jointly answered by every team member writing it out themselves. No, seriously.

Try this - get your team together and ask everyone to write an article to be published in a successful magazine ten years after the exercise date. This article must be challenging, thought-provoking and inspiring. After that, everyone in the team can read their article aloud and collectively choose the best parts of every article, to make a unique composition. The results are usually fantastic!

After that, the ideal is to frame this vision and place it on the wall of the work area, to remind everyone of the dream. The second step is to transform this bigger dream into smaller goals, which will be shared among the team members.

These submissions, when added together, result in the achievement of the major objective. After that comes the achievement of goals. A leader must, at that moment, clearly identify the profile, strengths, and weaknesses of each member of the team, to use the diversity of profiles and skills in favour of the team.

Having a clear understanding of every member of your team is essential in ensuring the correct distribution of everyone’s roles. This may sound obvious, but it is easily forgotten. It is up to the leader to delegate tasks and empower the team so that results can be maximized. Combining this with the development of relationships based on mutual respect and trust will further success and performance. The best way to develop relationships like this is to clearly define roles and rules for working together. Below are the four key elements to trust:

• Credibility - “I do what I promise, I do what I say”
• Consistency - "I say the things I think and not what the other party would like to hear"
• Acceptance - “I understand that others are different from me, whether in terms of actions, feelings or values. I try not to judge my companions”
• Sincerity - “I share what I have with other people, I open the game about feelings, facts, information, etc.”

A team without trust among its members is highly unlikely to achieve. A winning team also needs constant recognition and sincere feedback from fellow teammates. The cycle closes with inspiring leadership. Leadership is fundamental in building a high-performance team. Below is a step-by-step for the leader on this path:

• Share the company's mission, vision, and values with the team
• Serve, meeting the individual and team needs
• Transform the common goal into a dream
• Put people in the right places and positions
• Communicate, listen, and communicate again
• Celebrate every individual’s achievements


Building a high-performance team is not an easy activity. It is undoubtedly one of the most complex activities in management. Any leader must practice empowerment, sharing of responsibilities and authority with his or her team, whilst giving constant feedback to the team, seeking the growth of all.

This process creates an inspired team and the certainty of extraordinary results, but none of this happens if there is no common goal or dream, shared by everyone. Only with the common possession of this dream can a team achieve extraordinary results.
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