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Being Human | Article 8 | Creating a High Performing Team

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I have previously written about "Belonging - what does this mean to you?" (http://j-w-c.co.uk/blog-display/293). I want to now build on this and consider it from a team's perspective and what it means if you are a manager leading a team currently.

Belonging - the foundation is each individual feeling respected and treated fairly in an inclusive work environment. Leading organisations are forging a stronger link between belonging and organisational performance by strengthening employees' connections with their teams (creating communities) and fostering their sense of contribution to meaningful shared goals.

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Belonging and well-being are at the top of this year's Global Human Capital Trends survey, according to Deloitte Insights. A 2019 study by BetterUp found that workplace belonging can lead to an estimated 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, and a 75% decrease in employee sick days. The study also found that a single incidence of “micro-exclusion” can lead to an immediate 25 percent decline in an individual’s performance on a team project. Quite significant numbers!
Organisations large and small are still managing change. I personally believe there will be significant transition for a few more years to come. In times of change, senior leaders count on managers and middle managers to make the changes happen, often overlooking that these managers themselves need clear guidance and direction about the change efforts.

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If you are a people manager of a team, here are some of my tips to creating that high performing team/community who understand their shared goals.
1. What type of team are you leading?
For example, do you have a team of individual contributors? Or do you have a highly collaborative team? You then need to set goals accordingly. Early in the pandemic, teams composed of individual contributors were more agile than highly collaborative teams because they had already established processes to work independently, come together as a group and share information. Interdependent teams that relied on face-to-face interactions had to establish new ways to collaborate and learn how to do this in the virtual space. For some of my clients this was a steep learning curve. If you have an individualised team, as a people manager you also have to articulate the shared goals among each individual contributor. If your individual contributors don't see their work in the context of your Company's larger goals, it is easy for conflict to arise. It may also be the sign that the team.. isn't really a team.

2. Have you established clear team goals?
As a people manager you have to deal with different personalities and individuals; tough interpersonal dynamics, from trust issues to personality clashes to competing ambitions. You also have to ensure that you clearly communicate the team's goals and ensure that each member understands the process for achieving those team goals and especially which team members are empowered to make which decisions. If you do this ahead of time, you will preempt any disagreements or potential conflict situations. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, with so much change and transition, goals may be constantly changing and processes needing to be revisited, that you will need to take the time to be aware of any stress triggers that could be bubbling beneath the surface and disrupt team dynamics and the performance of the team.

3. Do you provide team feedback?
It is just as important in creating that high performing team to give the team as a group feedback and let them know how they are doing against the broader company goals. Hold regular team feedback sessions, perhaps every 3 months to give and receive feedback on individual goals, how well the team is handling perhaps a change to a process or new way of working, or how they could be even better if collaborating on a project.
As the manager of the team, something I always aim to do is to ask for feedback from the team on my management of the team, as well as allowing peers to give feedback on each other and the performance of the team. The same rules apply for giving feedback to teams as they do for individuals. Be clear, precise and specific with your comments. Always make sure you have an example and what would be even better if.

4. Incorporate team feedback into your routines
If you do this, this is an easy way to improve the effectiveness of your team and to keep them engaged.

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Realise, at a time of high employee turnover, keeping all of your team aligned to the team goals and overall business goals can prevent frustrations arising, which may lead to individual team members walking.
Aspire to hold regular team feedback opportunities; and 
Do Make this part of your routine!

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  • I have previously written about "Belonging - what does this mean to you?" (http://j-w-c.co.uk/blog-display/293). I want to now build on this and consider it from a team's perspective and what it means if you are a manager leading a team currently.
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