The Simple Secret to Creating High Performing Teams

A photograph of a business man with cartoon strong arms drawn cartoon-fashion behind him

Every new manager would love to know how to build a high performance team. Especially if you inherit a team that has been struggling, the best way to show you deserved the recent promotion is to show significant improvement in the productivity of your newly assigned team. 

There may have been some clues as to how to accomplish this in your new manager training, but here is the simple secret to high performance: build on strengths. Determine what your individual team members are good at and then see that their job roles match their core strengths. Not only will they be happier doing what they do well, but they will also be more effective.

To figure out what your direct reports do best, meet with them individually and ask the following questions:

1. What are you doing when you feel strong and able? Are you designing, analyzing, presenting, coaching, implementing, selling, leading or following? All of these skills are needed on high functioning teams. Make it easy for people to play to their strengths.

2. What skills and competencies have you relied upon in your career that brought you this far?

3. What lack of skills in others do you find most exasperating?

4. Growing up, was there something you could do that others could not? What made you stand out from the rest?

The answers to these questions will help you and your worker identify basic core strengths. If you can, dig deeper for their one-of-a-kind talents. Matching those to strategic needs will really give your team a boost. What are the problems that need fixing? Do you have a candidate fixer? What strong arms are hiding under that casual jacket?

You may not uncover a true genius, but if you find your team member’s exceptional ability and leverage it as often as possible, performance and employee engagement should dramatically increase. Basically you are looking for a person who is very good at doing something, defining that “something” and then pairing them with a problem that their “something” can solve. Voila…an engaged team that performs at its peak!

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