We are all part of a team, whether it’s with your colleagues at work, or your friendship group, your family or marriage.
If you are part of a great team, you’ll know the feeling of looking forward to work, knowing anything is possible, feeling charged up with energy, and having a real sense of belonging. But I bet there have been times in your life when you were part of a team from hell, with constant disagreement and conflict, when you walk on eggshells daily, and were afraid to speak up.
Over the years I have worked as a Performance Coach with many top performing teams and individuals, and have picked up a bunch of commonly occurring behaviours that transform an ordinary team into an extraordinary one.
You don’t get much more High Performing than in F1, and when coaching inside one particular team, I spot several principles in evidence every day:
A High Performance team wants to go the extra mile, every day.
People aren’t giving the bare minimum, they want (and start to need) to over deliver, impress and perform beyond ordinary. Most us enjoy delivering great results (humans like to please other humans) and a great team is bursting with people who are driven to give their very best, and more.
High Performing Leaders create energy and enthusiasm by inspiring, more than they drive, so the teams behave more ‘pull’ that ‘push’. Too many leaders underestimate the impact they have on the people around them. The time they arrive at work, the hours they put in, even the way they dress, walk and talk; it all filters down to their teams who will ‘mirror’ the behaviours of their leader. If a leader is energised and enthusiastic that will filter down to their team
Differences, issues and problems are addressed quickly and directly. This requires trust and maturity. When people believe that they are trusted and others have their back, disputes can be resolved.
The Red Arrows are a great example of how issues and problems get addressed. The post flight debrief is a key part in their ‘pursuit of excellence’ and is held as soon after the sortie as possible, so everything is fresh in the minds of everyone. The squadron leader always leads the de-brief, with the meeting being an open forum where everyone speaks, honestly, no hierarchy, and self criticism. The squadron leader goes first and discusses anything he thinks he fell short on – this opens the door for all team members to do the same in comfort and safety.
So be the first to admit failure, andothers will feel safe to follow. Team leaders that focus on ‘competition’ versus ‘cooperation’ never achieve outstanding results.
People don’t really want to come to work and do something that any other team could accomplish; they want to do something extraordinary.
Great Leaders set stretching goals that create an internal drive to succeed. Most people love to achieve and get results, and when they smash a goal they had once thought was out of their reach, their motivation and enthusiasm rises.
Team Leaders communicate, communicate, communicate the corporate vision and direction.
Think about it, most children need instructions repeating several times before they sink in! Repeated communication of the vision of team, will embed the message and help team members to remain focused on the vision. You know how frustrating it is when you don’t know what is going on, why you have been asked to do something or you dont feel part of it all?
High performance team leaders stay on message, they constantly communicate and keep people focused on the vision and mission to accomplish.
Allow people to thrive and create – don’t constrain their talents.
Why would you hire great people, choose talented individuals, to then constrain their brilliance? It makes no sense. You will get the best out of a team when they are set free to create and explore. If you are trying to change people, then you may simply have the wrong people around you.
Team Leaders Are Trusted.
If a team leader is not trusted, they can’t be inspiring or trusted to resolve conflicts. If the leader isn’t trusted they will struggle to get the team to embrace stretch goals, or believe their communications.
A lack of trust slows – or even shuts – things down.
I have found that there are three basic pillars that build trust:
The first pillar of trust is relationships.
We trust people that we like.
We trust our friends and we distrust our enemies.
Building a positive relationship increases trust.
The second pillar of trust is knowledge or expertise.
We trust people that have the right answer or can provide insight.
We trust people when they can help solve problems.
The third pillar of trust is consistency.
When you say you will do something and you do it, people trust you.
Be consistent, walking your talk.
Appreciation. Possibly the most underestimated quality of any leader is showing appreciation. According to research it’s the No 1 motivator for people- the need to be appreciated.
That’s it – my top tips for leading a great team – whether it’s at work, with friends, or at home, the same rules apply in every situation!