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Building High Performance Teams

This comprehensive five-page guide to building high performance teams has been constructed to help those who are responsible for managing and improving the performance of a team, within any size of company.

The information provides general guidance only. As a result, you will also need to consider your own organisation’s policies, procedures and culture.

1. Key steps to building high performing teams

As we strive for competitiveness, high performance teams become even more critical to our success. Regardless of the stage of your team coming together, these key steps will help you build a high performing team (HPT):

1.1 Develop a diverse team

Utilise people who have different strengths, whilst being closely aligned to the crucial business functions, customers and stakeholders. Importantly, the more diverse the team, the more they are likely to be strong in achieving the whole range of thinking, action and people orientated tasks for a successful outcome.

In addition, motivation is likely to remain consistently high where team members can focus the majority of their work in areas they enjoy.

1.2 Generate the team purpose

Facilitate the group to ensure clarity and accountability to the team’s purpose. Importantly, make the team clear what success looks like and ensure that they are empowered to achieve it. As a result, you may wish to focus the team on achieving results by setting explicit goals.

2. Embedding high performance into your company

As well as generating team purpose, it is important to develop critical processes that ensure the team have the vital framework to achieve their goals. In addition, try to break through any existing or new barriers that prevent these processes from functioning effectively.


Looking for help? Try our high performance teams training (available in the UK).

2.1 Share the leadership and accountability

Inspire team members to take full ownership for achieving the team purpose with the assigned resources. In addition, propose solutions and provide performance coaching where needed to address any performance issues.

Be authentic, work to your own strengths and capitalise on the talents of the team members. Then periodically ask the team for feedback on your leadership, so that you can adjust to get the most from each team member or the stage of the team development.

3. Nurturing a high performance team

Plan focused team building events that ensure team members recognise what effective teams look like. In addition, make them aware of the team behaviours for high performance, whilst capitalising on strengths and striving for continuous improvements.

For example, subject to team location, encourage periodic ‘get togethers’ such as a quick lunch or morning coffee, to ensure the ‘human’ team spirit is fostered. Alternatively, for virtual teams insert the social element into your conference calls with a simple ice breaker question.Remember, teams do not have to be friends, but there does need to be mutual respect and trust for high performance levels.

3.1 Establish focused communication and review

Ensure the team regularly review progress against their team goals and make the vital adjustments to ensure success. At the outset agree with the team the most timely and effective forms of communication for this specific team.

4. Team recognition and continuous improvement

4.1 Recognise key milestones and celebrate success

This could range from a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ to arranging awards, gifts or bonuses to recognise effort and successful results. Choose the most appropriate way, to maintain high performance levels.

4.2 Review and learn

Review each major team experience and share these across the business. Then record the output and review, prior to any new team coming together. For example, the review process might include open questions such as:

  • ‘What contributed most to our team outcome?’ as well as…
  • ‘What could we do differently next time?’

In addition, consider where your team are now and the best steps to help them progress towards being a high performance team. Importantly, you will achieve your goal more quickly if you bring your team along with you, so keep reviewing your progress with the team.

5. Team development tools

In addition, you may wish to consider:

  • Using a tool like Belbin Team Roles to identify how balanced your team are currently. Belbin will also show how you can maximise team performance, by tapping into the natural strengths within your team.
  • Bringing in a licensed MBTI facilitator to help your team share their communication preferences and identify ways of enhancing your team communication and decision making.

See MBTI team building for more information.

About the Author

Kim Larkins, MCIPD is Company Founder of KSL Training. Kim has 30 years training and HR management experience in the Retail, Hospitality and Pharmaceutical industry.


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