High Performing Teams or Dream Teams?
Here at AccessEAP we want our teams to live our values. Collaborating to accomplish set goals with respect, integrity and curiosity, but do we want our teams to be high performing teams or do we want “dream teams”?
The creation of effective or “dream teams” has never been more important than it is in today’s digitally evolving workplace. In fact, a recent McKinsey article, mentions that “the topic’s importance is not about to diminish as digital technology reshapes the notion of the workplace and how work gets done. On the contrary, the leadership role becomes increasingly demanding as more work is conducted remotely, traditional company boundaries become more porous, freelancers more commonplace and partnerships more necessary”. [i]
In the workplace context "dream teams" are high performing with a focus on the value and satisfaction that each member receives from the team to avoid burnout and promote a sustainable team. Creating and leading these teams can be complex, regardless of the size of the team or the organisation. Today’s workplace blends not only people from many varying backgrounds, beliefs and value systems; but leaders must contend with the inevitable variations in people’s personalities and preferred ways of working with others. As any leader or manager will tell you, this is no easy feat!
One useful approach is to understand that there are various role “types” which people can play in a team. The role “type” that people play will depend on their own unique background, skill set and personality. It is important that a team have a complementary mix of “types” because they each bring something unique to the team and have both strengths and weaknesses.
Beyond understanding individual roles and dynamics, it helps to understand some of the overarching dynamics of what happens when ANY group of people come together to form a team and this is where Bruce Tuckman’s stages of team development comes into play. Although it is another management model that has been around a long time, it is still highly relevant for team to learn about the different stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and transforming. Transforming has been added to the model over time showing that some teams come together for a purpose or a time and then disband and reform but also point to the fact that every time a new member joins a team, the dynamics in the team can change and the process can potentially begin all over again.
At AccessEAP, our Effective Teams training gives leaders and managers some insight into using models such as Tuckman’s which will help their team understand that this is a normal process. It may also go a long way to allay their concerns when teams are coming together or when there is disruption in the form of people starting in or leaving the team.
Finally, a few other characteristics of a high performing "dream team" which managers and leaders should be aware of, at all times, the ongoing need for:
- Positive Team Culture: Creating an open, friendly, and supportive culture is one of the most important things leaders need to tend to.
- Building Trust and Resilience: Managers and leaders need to provide an environment where team members feel confident to share their honest opinions and learnings. A commitment to this approach and leading by example will ensure that trust and resilience builds over time.
- Clear Expectations: Ensuring the team has a very clear understanding of their role and the expectations of how they are going to be measured.
- Open Communication: There is nothing more important than a team’s communication dynamics for building team understanding and morale. Building capability within the team in order to ensure they do not avoid conflict but engage in what is known as “constructive conversations”, goes a long way in clearing up misunderstandings and helping a team move along the high performance spectrum away from conflict and towards becoming a "dream team".
Implementing some of the tools and strategies described above, should go a long way towards helping you create a “dream team” in your organisation.
Sally Kirkright, CEO, AccessEAP