How to Build a High-Performing Team

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

A frequent aspiration our clients aim to weave into their development goals is creating a high-performing team.

Although building a high-performing team is incredibly important for leaders’ progression and reputation, the most vital reason is the bottom line, and the impact the team has on the success of the business.

So, when creating a new team or enhancing an existing team, how do you support and encourage collaboration to ensure high performance?

Bruce Tuckman proposed the forming, storming, norming and performing model of group development in 1965 and said “these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for a team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results.”

The four-stage model is described as:

  • Forming – The team gets to know one another and starts to establish working patterns.
  • Storming – Interpersonal conflicts can arise as the team grows accustomed to how everyone works.
  • Norming – The team begins to settle into a productive workflow and normality is established.
  • Performing – Conflicts have been resolved, processes are in place, and the team is working at peak performance.

Leveraging this model allows you to breakdown your objective of creating a high-performing team into tangible phases. You want your team to be invested in their relationships and feel fulfilled when it comes to their work.

“When it comes to building extraordinary workplaces and high-performing teams, researchers have long appreciated that three psychological needs are essential: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Decades of research demonstrate that when people feel psychologically fulfilled, they tend to be healthier, happier, and more productive.” (HBR)

As noted in this Forbes article, “Fundamentally, teamwork is the engine that powers productivity and efficiency.” If your team isn’t working in a cohesive manner, they aren’t working to their full potential.

Described in this HBR article are 5 things high-performing teams do differently:

  • Are not afraid to pick up the phone.
  • Are more strategic with their meetings.
  • Invest time bonding over non-work topics.
  • Give and receive appreciation more frequently.
  • Are more authentic at work.

It can be intimating to articulate and execute creating a high-performing team, so start with the beginning, the forming and allow time and space for your team to move through the phases. There will be mistakes, feelings will get hurt, but you will be a stronger, closer, and successful team for it.

Here are articles we found helpful on the topic:
7 Ways to Build a High-Performing Team
Building a High-Performing Team
5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently