High performing teams and their leaders (6 elements)

You never want to feel like you can’t rely on your team.

Sometimes, your team is all you have, and titles just don’t matter. 

The only thing that matters is whether your team has your back, and only high performing teams are the ones whose support you can always count on.

It is up to you however to build the personal bonds that will ultimately drive your team to be at your side, no matter what.

What we haven’t seen yet is what builds those bonds – and that’s the gap I’m going to fill today. 

Today we will see how you can establish a relationship with your team members using only six elements, six building blocks that together with emotional intelligence and leadership skills, and applied creative leadership, make high performing teams.

On top of that, I will show you how you can use them differently depending on what you want to achieve with each person.

The six elements

The six elements are role clarity, trust, job satisfaction, commitment to the organization, motivation and empowerment.

If you look at any person in your team, you can describe your relationship with him or her looking at:

  1. Role clarity: How clear it is to this person what behaviors and tasks you expect. 
  2. Trust: How confidently this person feels he or she can rely on your skills and character. 
  3. Job Satisfaction: How happy you make this person feel about doing his or her job. 
  4. Commitment: How attached or loyal to the organization this person you make this person feel 
  5. Motivation: How competent you make this person feel in his or her position. 
  6. Empowerment: How much freedom to self-organize this person feels he has from you.

Using the 6 elements for high performing teams

So you have these six elements that you control for the most part, and you have a choice on what to do with them. If you want to build a relationship to drive someone’s performance you need to focus on a few elements with that person, if instead you want that person to be a good team player, you need to focus on another set.

How to drive performance

To drive someone performance, you need to work firstly on being trusted, and afterward on giving them freedom to organize their work, making them feel competent and happy in their job.

Being clear about expected roles and tasks and being committed to the company play little to no role on performance – so if you need someone to work better, work on trust, empowerment, motivation and job satisfaction in that order.

How to drive good behaviour

If instead you make sure someone plays well with others in the team, is honest and trustworthy, your first focus needs to again be on gaining his or her trust, and afterwards you need to focus on making him or her happy in their job, committed to the organization and able to self-organize. 

To recap, if you need someone to behave better, focus on trust, job satisfaction, commitment and empowerment in that order.

In practice

So in both cases, trust at work is the number one driver here. If you don’t have time to focus on all elements – you probably don’t – just concentrate on earning a person’s trust at work.

That will be enough to boost both that person’s performance and behaviour. In other words trust in you is not just another nice thing that your team could have, it’s functional to how well your team works and how well they behave with each other.

Trust is a driver of performance, so use it as one.

Before you start running off, a couple of words of caution. If you decide to experiment with building these relationships, the focus needs to be individual and balanced: you cannot do it more with some people and less with others. This is unfair, and if you come across as unfair and biased in how you treat different people your team, everyone, including your “chosen ones” will notice, and once they do you can directly expect a drop in performance and a peak in conflicts, so watch out and overcome bias if you see you have any.

That said, if you work with this over time and develop trusting and solid relationships with all team members, maybe even get to the point of using all six elements, you can expect not only to work with a group of people that will have your back no matter what, but also to grow quickly into the leader your team needs.

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