How to Develop and Build High Performing Teams
What is the secret recipe to a high performing team? What, specifically, makes a bad team? What is the team leader’s role in developing and building high performing teams?
These are million-dollar questions for businesses.
Management teams worldwide are trying to pin down the perfect combination for productivity.
After all, this leads to the completion of team goals, happy team members, and profitable companies.
Throw into the mix the relatively new yet widely implemented notions of virtual teams and virtual communication, with dispersed teams across different time zones.
This notion of a remote team is in place of face to face interaction, the physical proximity of teams, and the traditional office space. It’s no wonder that businesses are scrambling to work out the right formula for the new normal.
Let’s examine how team leaders are building high performing teams in 2022. But first, a brief outline of different team types.
Types of team
The pandemic brought about the great work-from-home experiment. From this, the concept of a virtual team, remote team, or geographically dispersed team has blown up and become the norm for many teams around the world.
From such beginnings, other team names have spread.
- Parallel teams are teams that form for a short period – they come together to achieve a specific goal.
- Service teams are made up of team members often in different geographical regions. So, they often work independently.
- Networked teams are made up of members who come in to share their specific expertise, lending their knowledge to accomplish a particular step in the project. Their membership is temporary, and they leave after they have made their contribution.
- Product development teams come together virtually to develop something new for the business.
- Management teams are self-explanatory – their tasks have been made all the more challenging now. They need to encourage virtual collaboration as team leaders without the in-person face to face communication so natural to traditional teams in the same office.
So, how are team leaders building high performing teams in the modern, virtual workplace?
The basics: collaboration and communication tools
As a team leader, you must provide the digital technologies and project management tools necessary to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of your virtual team.
An effective instant messaging tool is key for communication. A project management tool is vital to manage team-wide collaboration. Depending on the nature of your business, other technologies may be necessary.
Furthermore, as a team leader, it is your responsibility to give clearly defined roles for whatever programmes you are using.
For instance, exactly how should team members communicate? Instant messaging for casual conversations, a project management tool for work-related talk, and email for HR needs? This needs to be established.
Unfamiliarity with tools
Also, team leaders should be mindful that employees may not always be familiar with new technologies. Team training may need to be carried out so that new members and new programmes are fully integrated into the team’s workflow.
In truth, a culture of continuous learning should be instilled in your team when it comes to adopting new technologies.
With skilled integration, the adoption of new technologies and effective communication tools will lead to increased productivity for your virtual teams.
When choosing new tools to implement, think about:
- the needs of your team – what will actually help the day-to-day work.
- user-friendly interfaces and systems – check reviews to assess which is most useable.
- your budget – some services are free, some offer levels of subscription etc. you will need to assess what you can afford in a needs analysis.
- some things might not be able to be replaced by a technological implementation. For some things, face to face interaction might still be necessary.
Take care of your virtual team
We don’t need to overcomplicate this. A good team leader already knows they need to build trust with and between coworkers and team members. They understand that employee productivity is linked to happiness and comfort in the workplace.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel – the same is true for virtual teams as traditional office-based teams.
That being said, here are some employee-centric pointers that should help in building high performing teams:
- Communicate regularly – use all those tools at your disposal. Working at home can be isolating, so organise one to ones, hold regular team meetings, and operate an open-door policy. It’s important to establish that support is there if they need it!
- Give feedback regularly – similar to the communication point, but with a specific emphasis on work performance. Give praise to high performing team members whenever it is due, but also identify if something isn’t working. When done well, this will keep workers motivated.
- Set clearly-defined roles – More than ever, employees need to know exactly what they are supposed to be doing and how they sit within their team. This should be clearly communicated by their team leader.
- Set clearly defined goals – Team objectives are important. When everybody is in the office, it is easy to see how everybody is working cohesively toward a shared goal – it can be easy to lose track of this in the virtual workplace.
- Build trust – lead by example with honesty and transparency – both good and bad workplace behaviour is contagious, so ensure trust is built by modelling how to act.
- Bond as a team – Equally vital, employees need to bond virtually to ensure effective collaboration and communication – they need to get along with each other so there is a mutual respect that leads to greater productivity.
Invest in your virtual team
It is one thing to take care of your virtual team, and it is another to inspire your team. The most high-performing teams are filled with motivated lifelong learners with a growth mindset.
This means showing that you are willing to invest in their development, create a culture of knowledge sharing, and back them to be the best they can be.
So many remote teams have become bases for learning and professional development. Yet, team leaders need to lay the groundwork in offering the time to complete courses or a training program that fits within already busy work schedules.
Unlocking the potential of your virtual team is key to building high performing teams.
The specific challenges of virtual teams
Of course, the demands of the 2022 virtual workplace do need to be addressed. How can virtual team members maintain a healthy work-life balance? How does a team leader ensure workers are on the same page? How can conference calls be less boring?
So, let’s examine a couple of these:
How can virtual team members maintain a healthy work-life balance?
As a team leader, you should be aware that many remote workers are working more than they ever have, leading to burnout.
Work with your team members to establish healthy routines, including regular breaks, opportunities for exercise, and even moments of casual conversation with colleagues.
How does a team leader ensure workers are on the same page?
Better communication is critical – if workers aren’t on the same page, that’s on you as team leader. Team communication is your responsibility and comes right from the top down.
Repeatedly share the team vision and the team direction so that everybody understands how everything fits in. High-performing teams are up-to-date, well-informed, and on track for success.
How can conference calls be less boring?
The key here is to mix things up. The same old Zoom meetings quickly become tediously repetitive.
Certain important meetings may need to maintain a level of seriousness, but there is room for management teams to have a little fun with some of their team bonding sessions.
How Can Making Teams Help?
That’s where we at MakingTeams can help with our bespoke offering of innovative and exciting virtual team-building exercises.
Building a high performing team requires team integration that you just don’t get from the usual stale team building questions.
That’s why our clients recommend our services as they offer engaging opportunities for employees to push themselves and improve their skillsets – all while having some good old-fashioned fun.
Check out our range of fantastic virtual team building activities, with escape rooms, treasure hunts, and Amazing Race days all on offer and all tailor-made to your needs.
Building high performing teams
There are many aspects to building high-performing teams. It is challenging for modern management teams and team leaders to ensure employee productivity in the contemporary workplace.
Many of the challenges that team members face have been exacerbated by the move to virtual teams and remote workplaces.
However, many of the core principles still resonate – taking care of your team members, communicating effectively, building trust, and investing in your team have always been core tenets in building high performing teams.
And, for those elements that are challenging – like encouraging effective collaboration and team bonding – there are an ever-increasing amount of tools out there like Making Teams that can alleviate these issues.Reach out today to see how we can help you build your high performing team through our virtual experiences.