Improving Team Performance

Business Insights

Team performanceAs a Manager or business owner, most of your working life is spent forming, motivating, monitoring and managing your team of staff. When your team is achieving, life is easy. When there are problems, life becomes difficult for you.

What are the keys to ensuring your team not only achieve your goals, but exceed them and do so in genuine harmony and co-operation?

The process outlined below provides an overview of the framework for building, motivating and managing high-performance teams.

Articulate a clear vision

Our "values" are our judgement of what is important in life, and our behaviour and decisions will reflect these values. In building a successful team it is important that the values of all participants clearly match those required to achieve the vision.

The key to making this match is to fully explore what each of the values means to each of the participants. As a simple test, ask the team what "honesty" means to them and listen for both the subtle and the obvious differences in their descriptions. Then ask them what they think about using work resources to book an overseas holiday (who thinks that is OK?) Now ask about using the work phone to chat to your Mum (is that dishonest or is that OK?).

These examples lead us to the next step - what behaviours demonstrate our values?

team performanceBehaviours that demonstrate the values

Having identified the key values for the team, and the subtle and obvious differences (remembering that there are no "wrongs" here) the group must now explore the behaviours that embody the values that are held.

If one member values working hard and works 12 hours per day, and another values time with family and is therefore working 8 hours per day, how will each perceive the contribution of the other and where may conflict arise (remember here that the shorter hours may in fact result in a higher quality of work, or more work than the longer hours)?

Agreeing on the team behaviours, with an understanding of the values that underpin these behaviours, enable all team members to make their contribution and how they add value to the team.

Linking behaviours to the achievement of team goals

Team performanceWhen a group of individuals understands their values and agree on their behaviours, a solid base has been created from which to optimise team performance. Communication styles and their impacts are understood, work preferences and skills are taken account of and trust is well established.

This is important work in building your team. It is an investment in ensuring that your team will engage with each other, and you, as openly as possible as the first step in tackling the issues of work and setting and achieving goals.

It is not always easy to work through these issues as a group without some outside support to help ensure all views can be expressed, without disharmony, keeping the team on track and focusing on the process. Leaders cannot always take responsibility for managing this process, but they do need to constantly reinforce the agreed values and behaviours, once they have been set and adopted.


If you have any questions regarding improving team performance get in touch with your local RSM advisor.