Leading high-performance teams can be a dream job or a complete nightmare. 

If you want to stay away from nightmarish team failure, developing a high-performing team starts with you – the manager. 

You have to be a high performer yourself, and know what to ask from your team.

So, what does a high-performance team have that others don’t?

A high-performing team is productive, creative, and profitable. 

Its members have remarkable discipline, unbreakable work ethic, and a focused attitude that helps them accomplish goals. 

Managing a high-performing team is impossible without transparent communication.

Already have all that in your back pocket? Let us share some practical advice about creating high-performing teams with immediate results. 

The Skills for Creating High-performing Teams in Practice

Managing high-performance teams come down to having a business structure you can apply to any team and every project. The secret is not about the type of work you do but how you manage roles, tasks, and relationships in a team context. 

1. Transparent architecture.

You can learn a lot about effective team architecture from virtual teams. 

Even if you don’t manage a virtual team, understanding how a digital environment impacts team relationships and commitment is key to creating high-performing teams. 

  • Virtual teams don’t follow the structure of conventional organizations. They have many similarities with traditional teams but what gives them the advantage is the transparent work process.
  • Unlike traditional organizations that rely on trust between members, virtual teams don’t rely on blind trust. Trust is not a concept, but a tangible proof created every day through a transparent presentation of tasks, objectives, and results.   
  • When working with virtual teams of freelancers, project success comes from individual goals. Then, instead of making success about team relationships, you create success by focusing on meeting individual goals that, in turn, contribute to organizational performance.
  • Quality assurance on virtual teams is more difficult to fail. You can assure high-quality standards and detailed project estimation by asking many freelance experts to review your work and fill in gaps in project requirements.  

If you want to learn more about developing a high-performing QA-proof team, watch the video below:

2. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Objectives and Key Results are two metrics that tell you whether the work you do leads to the goals you want to achieve. 

  • Objectives give you the direction you need to go to achieve your goals. Objectives are not targets but rather a definition of what your team needs to move to. Because objectives are not the destination, they are not measurable or quantifiable. They are only signposts. An example of an objective can be “generate more user value.”
  • Key Results define measurements of objectives in units or target numbers. An example of a KR that leads to the above objective is “to receive 100 5-star reviews in the App Store”. 

The purpose of OKRs is individual, team, and organizational goal alignment. You can create more KR for one objective and track them individually to contribute to developing high-performing teams. 

Learn more about working with OKRs to get results every time:

Two more things are important for using OKRs to create high-performing teams: 

  1. Ensure you have a system to track performance before you set OKRs.
  2. Create ambitious goals that stretch your team beyond the current performance. 

3. Automation. 

Automation provides structure and tools to help virtual teams thrive in a digital environment. 

Freelancers come from all over the world, and in order to be a part of a high-performing team, they need a structure that replicates the walls of a conventional office. 

Automating virtual work is similar to cloud architecture, which defines the technology components necessary to create a shared network of information. 

Of course, not all technology is automated. But creating high-performing teams depends on using automation tools for handling tasks that don’t need to be performed by people.

Let the people generate value by doing creative expert work, and let the technology do the boring stuff.  

4. Avoid role pollution.

Creating clear roles is key to managing high-performing virtual teams. Each role should have defined tasks, goals, and OKRs. If you have hired an employee to be a full-stack developer, you cannot ask them to do dev-ops work. Being strict with roles is a precursor to productivity. Do not pollute teams roles by adding tasks. Make sure every team member knows and understands their tasks and responsibilities, as well as their colleagues’ tasks and responsibilities.  

5. Communicate clearly with digital tools.

The 7 Cs of clear communication are:

  • Clarity. Provide enough transparent information to avoid ambiguities.
  • Correctness. Make sure the information you provide is accurate.
  • Conciseness. Don’t add confusing details.
  • Courtesy. Be polite, acknowledge, and appreciate other people’s points of views
  • Concreteness. Be succinct and to the point.
  • Consideration. Value the position of other people – empathize.
  • Completeness. Make sure you are not missing important information in your message.

One of the biggest traps of poor virtual communication is running exhausting online meetings. Here is how to eliminate Zoom fatigue by replacing video meetings with video recording tools. 

Applying these secrets for creating high-performing teams is easier when you have workflows and templates you can start using immediately. Here is how to create a virtual team with high-performance scores.

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