Do you feel part of a real team?
Or are there moments when you feel isolated, uncertain, and disconnected, even though you're surrounded by colleagues?
In the early stages of my career, I had the simplistic view that bringing together a bunch of high achievers would naturally create an outstanding team.
However, the reality was quite different. Instead of creating synergy, there was noticeable discord.
The team didn't seem to gel; it was akin to cogs not aligning in a machine.
Every top performer, exceptional in their own right, appeared to follow their own path, often pulling in different directions.
The amount of energy and time lost to internal strife was significant, and the expected outcomes? They remained just that – expected.
This experience was a clear lesson that the success of a team isn't merely based on individual talent; it's about harmony, alignment, and collaboration.
With today’s workplaces being more diverse, widespread, digitized, and ever-changing, achieving this is certainly challenging.
So, in my quest to understand the nuances of high-performing teams, I reached out to my friend Hari Haralambiev. As a coach of dev teams who care about people, Hari has worked with numerous tech organizations, guiding them to unlock their teams’ potential.
Here are his top 5 tips for developing high performing teams:
1. Be Inclusive
↳Put a structure in place so that the most vocal people don’t suffocate the silent voices. Great teams make sure minority views are heard and taken into account. They make it safe for people to speak up.
2. Leverage Conflict
↳Disagreements should be encouraged and how you handle them is what makes your team poor or great. Great teams mine for conflict - they cherish disagreements. To handle disagreements properly make sure to separate discussion from decision.
3. Decision Making Process
↳Have a clear team decision-making method to resolve conflicts quickly. The most important decision a team should make is how to make decisions. Don’t look for 100% agreement. Look for 100% commitment.
4. Care and Connect
↳This is by far the most important tip. Teams who are oriented only on results are not high-performing. You need to create psychological safety and build trust between people. To do that - focus on actually knowing the other people and to make it safe to be vulnerable in front of others. Say these 4 phrases more often: ‘I don’t know’, ‘I made a mistake’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I need help’.
5. Reward experimentation and risk taking
↳No solution is 100% certain. People should feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. Reward smart failure. Over-communicate that it’s better to take action and take accountability than play it safe.
Remember, 'team' isn't just a noun—it's a verb. It requires ongoing effort and commitment to work at it, refine it, and nurture it.
Do give Hari a follow and join over 6K+ professionals who receive his leadership comics in his newsletter A Leader’s Tale.