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8 Elements of a High-Performing Team

by Deb Dupree

High-performing work teams are assets to any business with the proper ground rules and support systems. Company leaders are responsible for providing the resources and support structures needed for team success. After that, team members come together to discuss and agree on mission and goals. They then work on developing operating processes, behavior guidelines and defining team roles. Finally, team members can commit to decision-making protocols, conflict-resolution procedures and performance measures that keep them on track. With these eight elements in place, functioning as a high-performing team is productive and rewarding.

Mission

The team mission is the work the team needs to accomplish. High-performing teams collaborate to construct a written mission statement that members can rally around and support. In the end, all team members are clear about the purpose and reason for coming together and are committed to achieving results.

Goals and Objectives

The work it takes to achieve a unified mission is laid out in actionable goals and objectives. High-performing teams work together to figure out action steps and timelines that support mission realization. Teams use a collaborative process to decide goals, objectives and action items.

Operating Processes

Operating processes define how teams work together to accomplish their responsibilities. These processes address administrative procedures, production processes, work schedules and quality inspections. The team may also have process needs that support their working relationships, such as problem-resolution and communication processes.

Behavior Ground Rules

Disagreements happen with any group of people who work together. High-performing work teams know how to resolve disagreements constructively. Guidelines are useful in defining acceptable team behavior. Behavior examples include respecting the opinions of others, handling disagreements in a civil manner void of emotional conflict and being on time for meetings. Team members can choose to capture these rules in a code of conduct statement.

Clear Team Roles

Clearly defined roles are important to team function. Roles outline what each team member will do to support the team mission. Examples of roles include team leader, process auditor, computer specialist, mediator and meeting facilitator. High performing teams discuss members’ strengths and talents to determine roles that play to each member’s skills and abilities.

Decision-Making Process

An effective decision-making process is important for progression toward goals and objectives. High-performance work teams have a system in place to identify and resolve problems so they can move forward. This includes a discussion process where consensus decisions are made for the good of the group rather than individual agendas.

Conflict-Resolution Process

Conflict in inevitable. The good news is that conflict brings to light issues and concerns that can build resentment and result in unproductive behavior when left unresolved. High-performance work teams have a process in place that gets to the root of conflict and resolves it in a timely fashion.

Performance Measures

Performance must be measurable for teams to know where they stand in meeting goals and objectives. High-performing work teams use various tools to measure their progress and to assess their overall effectiveness. For example, they have systems in place to gauge their operating efficiencies and the quality of their outcomes.

About the Author

Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

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