The ideal formulae for any productive team appears to include alignment against a shared set of values, a culture which values diversity and an environment in which everyone feels valued and has the ability to creatively contribute to a common purpose.


Does this resonate with you?

A high performing team is a group of people with specific skill sets, qualifications and talents that are required to achieve goals and objectives. To remain a high-performing team each person will have access to individual and team development opportunities as well as coaching and mentoring support.

Team members should be able to enjoy high levels of trust with colleagues, their leaders and the wider organisation. There should be a clear purpose for the team, with regards to the achievement of goals and objectives and all should be aligned to the same values.


Trust = Empowerment + Accountability.

Successful teams always derive their power and success from the diversity of their people. They use simple but effective tasking and coordination structures and processes and they always have high quality in mind. Having a rewards and recognition structure is very important for building accountability and empowerment, as is a culture of fairness and openness.

Finally, the best teams enjoy open communication, regular consultation and as mentioned above are fully empowered. There should be a culture where everyone feels free to participate with systems to ensure fair and appropriate distributed workloads within an ethos of working together as a team based upon mutual respect.

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Not rocket science, is it?

Despite this simplicity it doesn’t always turn out well in operational practice. There are many potential blockages and issues which can get in the way of good performance delivery and in some places, it really is a wonder that anything gets done.

Often during my organisational consultancy and diagnostic work, the same things appear to come up time and time again in terms of missing elements. None of these issues are particularly difficult to resolve and I am sometimes left wondering what the reasons are for dysfunctional things not being faced up to and addressed by leaders.

I often discover a lack of what Graham Lee calls ‘Authentic Leadership’ – leadership which balances the needs and values of the individual, with the needs and values of the team, management and the wider organisation.

Leaders are sometimes found to be either self-serving or defiant whilst others are switched off and totally compliant, only looking for the easy life.


Poor delegation is a regular issue.

People find it difficult to do it in the right way or to achieve the correct balance. A lack of clarity of role and responsibilities and the lack of ownership with fair and objective accountability structures can cause many performance problems.

Poorly defined KPI’s, in terms of being too high, too low, or not even relevant can skew performance thinking and results. There is also often too much pressure for KPI achievement without the proper support given to staff and managers.

Low motivation and staff engagement are often seen to be an issue and this can be fuelled by a lack of challenge for poor performance and performers.

Unhealthy competitive cultures are often present, with a lack of creativity and this can sometimes be reflected in silo working with little or no appetite for collaboration and alliance building.

A lack of organisational synergy and cooperation will often result in low satisfaction and engagement levels. A lack of clear goals will generate poor attitudes to work and in a culture of blame where unfair, subjective and unnecessary criticisms are the norm, people just will not feel valued or able to make a constructive contribution. This often generates a lack of transparency, trust and confidence and overall reduction in team spirit, where the diversity of team members is not valued, monitored and encouraged.

There is no room for complacency where low self confidence and self-esteem are found and Leaders must do everything they can do to limit and confront any suggestion of self-limiting belief and they should always have a strategy of rewards which meets the needs and expectations of the people who work there.


Lots to think about where performance is concerned, right?

David is our leadership expert and leads on our CMI Level 5 Leadership and Management programme. This is the perfect programme for anyone looking to develop or refresh their leadership and management knowledge.


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