6 Ways to Create High Performance Teams

When evaluating your team's performance, it’s easy to be dissatisfied with what you see, and to blame your team for their lack of foresight, vision, or drive. But what is far more effective—and more difficult—to do is to honestly evaluate your own leadership practices and to determine whether your actions might be causing the performance that you find so dissatisfying.

Here are 7 simple—though not easy—ways to improve your satisfaction with your team performance.

1. Teach them how to manage themselves.

Their decision making has to go through two steps: (1) Does this achieve team goals? (2) Will my superior like the way I have handled this problem?

Make their lives easier by giving them the scaffolding to answer the second question. Make your left and right limits explicit so that your subordinates can adopt to your thought processes, but still have enough freedom to explore different avenues to find the solution.

2. Be detailed in your feedback.

When you are specific about what you liked about a particular performance, you let your employees know what you’re looking for from them. Being lavish with your praise also means that you won’t have to make your displeasure explicit, should a failure occur—they’ll pick up on your change in tone and be alert without you having to say anything.

3. Reward Initiative.

By training your employees to think like you, they will inevitably start to adopt the problem-solving strategies as you. Reward them for producing ideas and going the extra mile

4. Remember that they want you to like them.

People in positions of authority often forget that their subordinates derive personal meaning and validation from being recognized by those higher in the hierarchy. Going out of your way to be kind to your team members and to let them know you value them will make them loyal, motivated, and happy.

5. Be careful about who you add to the team.

You should be involved with hiring, or delegate it to a trusted employee, as it is one of the most important aspects of team management. One bad attitude, imperious prima donna, or incompetent bungler can throw the whole team off. Toxic people can destroy what you have built up over a long period of time in just moments. The motivation and loyalty that you have strived so hard for can be turned into complaining and bad attitudes. 

6. Be accessible

It’s important to make yourself accessible to all levels of your organization. This is not just for the employee benefit—it’s for yours. Be accessible and open to your team so they view you as a resource, and are knowledgeable about what's going on in the organization. This will make sure are levels are on the same page and have the same understanding of what the goals are.