Our nearly 50 years of research and experience working with leaders has revealed one constant truth: leadership is hard. It always has been. We may not stop to think about it much, but we expect a lot from leaders, every moment of every day.
And while leadership has always been challenging, it has become even more so thanks to digital-age forces such as the pace of change, the uncertainty of disruption, and the increased complexity of work and organization.
Our traditional emphasis on leadership in a hierarchy makes sense when organizational systems are rules-based and reliant on the specialization of labor, but the workplace of today seems to be riddled with chaos and uncertainty. In other words, the hierarchy no longer makes sense when most employees, regardless of rank or role, must exercise a high degree of judgement as they face leadership moments everyday.
Where we once saw clean-cut job descriptions and rigid roles, we’re finding a more fluid framework that requires constant collaboration. The average employee is working with an increasing number of internal and external colleagues to get a single project done.
Leadership in the digital age is a team sport. The collective knowledge and capability in teams makes them better positioned to deliver high-quality work, sense emerging problems and opportunities, create innovative solutions, and identify and enforce their own standards.
It’s imperative to provide employees with the necessary skills to handle large and small-scale collaboration for success on an individual level, but more importantly success on a macro level for the good of the team.
Here’s how you can create your own High Performing Team:
Support collective accountability
The most important part in any team’s success is a strong sense of loyalty and community. In the workplace, these feelings are typically fostered by a leader who is able to set goals, establish roles, and create an open space for feedback – all of which create a sense of accountability.
On an individual level, you’ll feel a sense of loyalty to your team in that you don’t want to let anyone else down or become the “squeaky wheel”. Individuals will work hard to hold up their end of the bargain – whatever role they’ve been assigned, they’ll complete happily to contribute to the group’s overall success.
On a team level, you’ll each be aware of each other’s responsibilities and will be able to hold each other accountable as such. In creating an open space for feedback, your team will be able to address any issues that stem from this appropriately.
Conflict is typically perceived as a negative (duh!) but that does not mean it can’t be turned into a positive force.
In the face of each new conflict, the team leader needs to take a step back and assess calmly and rationally. Don’t jump to act right away, and most importantly don’t focus on the individual at hand. Process the issue, find a solid solution, and put the team to work.
Have the team come together to evaluate the conflict management results. Learn from each new conflict and use key takeaways to improve your everyday operation.
Use inclusive & collaborative decision making
High performing teams often serve as a reflection of the world around us. By that, we mean they offer diverse perspectives from all different types of people.
It’s important to invite people of all genders, races, and beliefs to the decision-making table. Each solution should be informed by a bevy of perspectives and people who can work to create a holistic view of the problem at hand.
Further, it’s important to explore more than one option. The first solution is not always the best solution (though it can be). Match the decision process to the type of decision you’re making. Talk it through with the team and allow each voice to be heard. Collaboration is key.
Become a High Performing Team
Here at AchieveForum, we’re committed to helping businesses overcome these obstacles.
Universal Access is our solution to providing leadership learning for all members of the team. You can sign up here to receive FREE login information to our website equipped with course materials, fully-editable outlines, virtual instructor-led classes, and a specific learning journey focused on Becoming a High Performing Team.
No smoke and mirrors, no hidden catch – we are committed to our mission: empowering all leaders to lead in all situations and that starts with democratized access to leadership learning.