Strategy & LeadershipHow to lead a high-performance team

How to lead a high-performance team

Leadership is the key to creating high performing teams, and its development plays a pivotal role in allowing workforces to perform at their best. HRD Connect investigates the essential traits of leaders and how this can positively impact teams.

Talent attraction and retention for businesses remain a challenge. Business leaders need to look to onboard the right talent to positively impact culture and productivity. Leaders today must have a forward-thinking approach when preparing for turbulent times in talent.

“Successful team leaders not only paint the vision, but also encourage different perspectives, identify long term strategy, stimulate collaboration, and establish shared values, cultural norms and accountabilities,” said Sarah Gornall, Executive Coach and co-author of How to Work With People… And Enjoy It!.

“They also crucially read and work with interpersonal and interdepartmental dynamics, model language and behaviour which enables others to live with tensions and opportunities for change.”

“What they say and do demonstrates integrity and generates trust, thereby setting the foundations of high performing teams.”

Business leaders must meet the expectations and demands of their workforce if they are to build and maintain effective employees. Flexible working, culture, and work-life balance are all essential in managing the expectations of workforces. For organisations to manage dynamic changes, they must drift away from the traditional traits of a leader and embrace the adaptability and communication skills needed today.

“The secret to good leadership is truly understanding what makes people tick and want to work hard. In this current working landscape, employees now want to make an impact and do well. Good leaders recognise that.” said Martin Falch, CEO, 360Leaders.

To build efficient and productive groups, leaders must recognise the impact that they can have on a workforce.

“The who and how of the leader are central. As well as having an idea of what this might look like in practice, to develop and hold fast as a team leader, we need to grow our awareness of ourselves and how we impact on others,” continued Sarah.

“The “Who/How Come” described in “How to Work with People… and Enjoy It” provides a model for just this, working from Who I am > How I understand myself > How I behave > What others see > Impact on Outcomes.”

Leaders can benefit from constantly communicating and collaborating with their employees. Not only will this give them a better understanding of what employees require, but it will also improve team culture and cohesion.

“Seeking and listening to feedback from others stimulates our thinking about what we choose to do and how we choose to be – and what personal or professional development we need to get there,” said Sarah.

Sage’s report ‘The changing face of HR’ revealed that 94% of respondents expect further changes in employee demands over the next three years. Communication, transparency, and overall workplace experience will continue to remain an important priority in turbulent times.

“Forget engagement – it’s all about experiences. For too long companies have focussed on engagement. Yet it is not the cause, but the effect. 92% of employees told us a great workforce experience was the single biggest driver for productivity,” said Paul Burrin, VP, Sage People.

“Great workforce experiences drive engagement, which improves performance.”

Many challenges arise in maintaining productivity and culture once a high performing team is built. Leaders not only play a crucial role in building an effective team but also in sustaining the performance through talent retention and performance.

“If you are bringing in a complete team to deliver a specific project, think about the impact on the system. Just as one individual joining a team changes the nature of the team and impacts on team culture,” continued Sarah. “A new team coming into the organisation will impact the system and culture. Silo mentality impedes overall development. Individuals in a high performing team are interdependent; teams in a high performing organisation are interdependent too.”

Businesses that maximise the potential of teams can lead change in a time where work is evolving. However, once these teams are built, the key is continuing to create an environment where employees can grow, so they’re not encouraged to move on when they’ve reached their potential.

“A high-performance culture prioritises the growth of its people, combining expertise and experience with ongoing personal development and renewal,” said Cath Bishop, Leadership Development Consultant and Keynote Speaker.

“The challenge for business leaders is to create an environment where staff are hungry for these opportunities, keen to keep learning and finding new ways of doing things, and working together how they can make the business continue to go faster, not jump ship in search of a faster vessel.”

Once organisations succeed in attracting and developing high-performing employees, culture can improve, talent management will be more effective, and it could position workforces in a steady state for the upcoming challenges in business.

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