8 Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

High-performing teams are invaluable in the workplace as they produce outstanding results and exceed expectations.

But what sets these top teams apart from the rest? They hold certain qualities that create a unique environment of collaboration, innovation, and support.

The eight key characteristics of high-performing teams are:

  • Commitment: Individuals prioritise the team over their own interests and invest in its success.
  • Communication: Communication is open and honest with regular feedback loops that encourage collaboration between members and help build trust. All members can stay informed of developments throughout their project.
  • Trust: Team members must be able to rely on each other and trust that everyone will pull their weight.
  • Respect: Team members must also have respect for each other’s ideas and opinions in order for everyone to feel heard and thrive under new leadership opportunities.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration is key and an open conversation helps everyone understand why decisions were made and how they will benefit collectively in its end result.
  • Shared leadership: Everyone’s voice should be heard - collectively crafting ideas and relevant solutions that take everyone’s expertise into account.
  • Mutual accountability: Effective problem-solving systems are essential for a high-performance team’s success - brainstorming creative projects to innovate ways around challenges builds resilience within a group dynamic.
  • Clear goals: Leaders need to pay attention to key factors such as defining and articulating a clear vision. A successful vision should be able to provide clarity on both the purpose and the strategic direction of the team members as well as set expectations for excellence.

When these components come together in harmony, team members can become mutually accountable for completing tasks efficiently while always pushing to reach shared goals.

This requires strong team dynamics that emphasise these qualities as well as having established protocols for decision-making processes, regular check-ins on performance management efforts and an overall dedication towards achieving positive outcomes.

Having a well-defined and clearly articulated mission makes it easier for high-performance teams to thrive; it gives them something tangible that they can strive towards, communicates expectations, and helps unify everyone under one common goal.

Along with having a robust organisational framework, motivated members, and effective communication strategies, a significant part of getting teams performing at their peak rests squarely upon setting out what everyone is expected to do so they feel like there’s something valuable worth achieving together.

Building a High-Performing Team

Building a high-performing team requires commitment and investment. To build a successful team, it is essential to focus on empowering employees, fostering collaboration, and creating an environment of trust.

The first step towards building a high-performing team is to hire the right people with knowledge and skills that complement each other. This requires creating job descriptions that clearly outline expectations and performance criteria so applicants can adequately assess their skillset. It is also important to provide adequate training so that new members feel at ease in their roles and understand how they will contribute to the success of the entire team.

After hiring the proper talent, it is important to focus on fostering collaboration through constant communication and active listening between members. Communication should be encouraged openly and without judgment or fear of criticism.

Additionally, it is key to create an environment of trust within the team by recognizing accomplishments, delegating tasks fairly, providing constructive feedback, and celebrating successes as a group.

Ultimately, building a high-performing team takes significant time and resources but is worth every effort as it leads to better long-term outcomes for everyone involved.

Low Performing Teams

One of the main reasons why low-performing teams are so unproductive is poor leadership. Micromanaging and overly controlling leadership styles where leaders make decisions without including input from team members reduces creativity, innovation, or autonomy in problem-solving.

Without an open dialogue between all members of the team, it becomes difficult to resolve disagreements and ensure that tasks are completed on time.

Low self-awareness from team members can also cause a team to perform poorly. If individuals do not take the time to understand their own strengths, weaknesses, and role in the team, and how these affect other group members, it will be difficult for the group to move towards any sense of cohesiveness or shared objective.

Additionally, understanding your role within the broader picture often provides you with motivation and enthusiasm which contributes to overall success.

6 Characteristics of Low-Performing Teams

Low-performing teams are particularly frustrating because of the significant potential that is often wasted. They typically lack a clear and concise mission that all team members can easily understand, resulting in confusion and inefficiencies. All too often, poor leadership has led to team members who are unaware of their roles, which leads to further confusion.

Ultimately these teams tend not to reach deadlines, meaning projects aren't completed on time and resources have been distributed – with unsatisfactory results. That inevitably affects a company's bottom line and so needs to be addressed quickly if any progress is to be made.

Furthermore, the dysfunctionality within low-performing teams leads to strained relationships between members as well as missed opportunities for collaboration. This can manifest itself in team members not listening to or respecting each other, bullying or disregarding those with dissenting opinions, or being unable to make important decisions due to fear and indecision in the group.

It is essential that these issues are recognised and dealt with quickly so that morale does not continue to reduce. Strategies such as individual assessments and coaching, team building exercises or establishing set goals can help positively move low-performance teams towards achieving their objectives once more; for the benefit of everyone involved.

Poor Communication 

Poor communication is often seen as a primary cause of workplace inefficiency and low morale. Without effective communication, team members are not only unable to learn their roles or what tasks they are expected to complete but may also make incorrect assumptions due to the lack of information provided.

This can create tension between team members and conflict amongst employees who don’t understand each other’s intentions or motivations. Not only does this atmosphere create resentment and frustration among co-workers, but it also hinders the progress of any project or task that requires collaboration.

Furthermore, poor communication can lead to an unprofessional attitude in the workplace that could affect employee satisfaction and job commitment. This situation could cause costly mistakes, as well as an atmosphere where employees don’t feel respected or valued by their employers.

Poor communication can ultimately lead to higher employee turnover as more people look for work environments with open lines of dialogue and respect for all individuals involved. If employers want to increase productivity and keep valuable employees, then effective communication should be a priority.

Lack of formal Training

When employees lack formal training, their performance can suffer. If there is no training in place, most employees can't meet their goals. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and stress. As a result, productivity decreases and changes need to be made within the organisation that ultimately cost the company time and money.

In order to create a skilled and engaged workforce, companies need to invest in training for their employees. By providing your employees with meaningful and targeted training, it gives them the opportunity to feel confident in their job and strive for higher positions.

This creates motivated team members, allowing organisations and businesses alike to benefit through increased performance and profits.


The issue of employee disengagement is increasing as the rate of remote working continues to skyrocket. In a Gallup poll, it was found that 51% of American employees were overall disengaged, with another 16% actively disengaged – meaning they would express their dissatisfaction publicly, be away from the office more often, and vent to co-workers.

Managing hybrid teams composed of in-office and remote workers can also provide its own unique set of challenges when it comes to sustaining employee engagement. For example, if employees feel overlooked or not valued in their role, they may lack motivation and will struggle to perform at their highest level. Likewise, hybrid team members might not have access to the tools and resources they need in order to work productively or may find themselves facing difficulties with communication and juggling a work/life balance.

It is clear that organisations need to factor in employee engagement strategies when considering a successful hybrid model for their teams going forward. This might involve access to educational materials, collaboration tools and peer mentoring programs as well as mechanisms for continual feedback from managers such as appraisals or 1-on-1 meetings. 

No Accountability

One of the biggest challenges that managers face is driving accountability without appearing as “the bad guy.” This fear of looking like a disciplinarian can prevent holding people accountable for missing deadlines, exhibiting poor behavior, or achieving low performance. When these expectations are previously established but not upheld by staff members, the manager’s credibility starts to drop – this also leads to decreased team loyalty and respect.

A major factor in failing to hold someone accountable is failing to set clear expectations in the first place. High-performing teams have an inherent culture of self and mutual accountability; everyone keeps each other on track and engages in friendly competition while still being supportive of each other's goals.

Establishing a standard level of performance with well-defined goals and metrics allows managers to hold their staff responsible accordingly, providing fairness across the board while making it easier for themselves to enforce accountability in the workplace.

Lack of Transparency and Visibility

Transparency and visibility are essential in any working environment for the productivity and well-being of the team. When teams lack transparency they are unable to see how their contribution fits into larger projects, surrendering them to the basis of trust built by their colleagues. This inhibits team unity and cohesion; creating feelings of disconnection, demotivation, and potential poor performance within an organisation.

A lack of transparency can interfere with creative problem-solving; which harms an organisation's competitive edge. Without visibility into how decisions are being made or what other employees are doing, each team member may not know how to find solutions that support the organisation as a whole.

In these instances, it can be difficult to form relationships between departments that work together to achieve shared goals. It is essential that organisations understand the importance that clear communication lines have on maintaining a positive workplace experience for everyone involved.

Honesty, openness, and strong trust between individual members is crucial for teams to remain effective and productive in their efforts collaboratively.

Excessive Meetings

Excessive meetings can have a detrimental impact on a business. When meetings don't have defined agenda or purpose, the outcome is usually unproductive due to wasting time without accomplishing anything.

This inefficiency can take away from valuable work time and also decrease morale as employees are forced to take more time away from their projects for something that seems pointless. Furthermore, when meeting after meeting is called without any tangible progress being made, it can lead to increased apathy or even resentment among employees—further complicating the task at hand since cooperation and team-building influence workplace productivity.

For businesses looking to maximise efficiency and encourage healthy work environments, minimizing the number of meetings is essential. Having set agendas that are created well in advance can help streamline the process and make sure all attendees come prepared with relevant information.

Scheduling status updates every few weeks instead of holding impromptu meetings is also a great way to ensure goals don't get lost in long-winded discussions or lack of communication. Making sure there's a good balance between individual working time and collaborative efforts is key to an effective work process.

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