Tuesday 13 Jul 2021 Article

The TakeawayHow to Build a High Performance Team in 2021

Back to Work Special

Part 4 of 5

#Management #Apprenticeships #BackToWork #HighPerformanceTeams

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How to Build a High Performance Team in 2021

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-founder

Bringing together a team of innovative thinkers with a broad range of talents, skills, and expertise is the key to driving outstanding performance in 2021. When teams have a healthy dynamic and are extremely goal-orientated, they often display high levels of effectiveness and productivity as they can bounce ideas off of each other, problem-solve better, and utilise each others’ strengths to boost the whole team’s performance.

So what is the definition, benefits, and characteristics of a high performance team and how can you create one as your staff return to work?

True Meaning of High Performance Teams

Put simply, a high performance team is a cross-functional group of highly skilled staff that strive for excellence and deliver consistent, superior results through effective teamwork. 

In addition, Ina Togel, professor at IMD, suggests that high performance teams should be made up of no more than 8 people. Her reasoning for this is that having too many people in a team can result in “challenges in coordination, increased tension and reduced productivity”.

Undeniable Benefits of Building High Performance Teams

Building high performance teams can greatly boost performance and morale in the workplace and free up a lot of managers’ time as high performance teams are often self-reliant and require little management input.

Being part of a high performance team can also be extremely beneficial for team members themselves; being surrounded by like-minded, hard-working and dedicated colleagues is often extremely motivating and achieving outstanding results undoubtedly gives staff a sense of pride, accomplishment and self-confidence.

On the flip side, being part of a low performance team can do quite the opposite. It can give team members a fear of speaking up, cause them stress due to ongoing conflicts, and make them feel as though they are constantly ‘walking on eggshells’. 

So what characteristics really set high performance teams apart from the rest and make them easy to spot?

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5 Characteristics of a High Performance Team

There are many characteristics that can help you identify a high performance team, including:

1. Great work ethic and determination

Members of high performance teams are typically punctual and come to work every day with a positive attitude, prepared to work hard. With great work ethic comes a dedication to achieving both individual and team goals. One thing to be aware of is that whilst this work ethic is great for achieving goals, it can also lead to burnout if staff work too hard.

2. Going the extra mile

Another key characteristic of high performance teams is having a forward-thinking mindset that focuses on the future and achieving goals that will drive the organisation forwards. Not only do high performance teams want to meet goals, they often want to exceed them. Their creativity, ambition and innovation enables them to come up with new ideas and better ways of working. 

3. Open communication and effective conflict resolution

Effective listening, communication, and emotional intelligence are key traits of high performance teams that allow team members to voice their opinions freely in a positive, inclusive work environment. Being emotionally intelligent and able to communicate effectively also enables these teams to identify and resolve conflicts early on before they spiral.


4. Collaborative working

Another crucial characteristic of high performance teams is their enjoyment of collaboration’. Despite the fact that collaboration can often be difficult and cause tension, high performance teams embrace it and encourage contribution from all team members - including the introverts. This allows everyone to voice their opinion and feel like their opinions are values.

5. Seeking continuous improvement

One of the main reasons that high performance teams are ‘high performance' is the fact that they are constantly looking to improve. They embrace feedback, hold themselves accountable, and practice continuous learning through both experiential learning and formal training.

How to Build a High Performance Team in 2021

Building a high performance team takes time and commitment to better understanding your staff as individuals so that you can support them and enable them to thrive as they return to work.

If you’re looking to learn how to build a high performance team this year, our Level 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship would be perfect for you. It covers ‘Building High Performance Teams’ as well as many other crucial aspects of management like ‘Effectively Managing Change’, ‘Translating Strategy into Action’ and ‘Financial Management’.

You can download our Level 5 Leadership and Management brochure by clicking here or following the link at the bottom of this page.


Next up on The Daily Dot, we will be taking a step back and taking an overall look at how you can support your staff as they return back to work - we will also be providing you with a ‘Back to Work’ checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Until next time...

Explore Our Level 5 Operational Management Apprenticeship!

Please click the link below to explore our Level 5 Operational Management Apprenticeship that can help you build high performance teams in 2021.

View the programme!
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