When it comes to building high-performing teams, researchers maintain that there are three essential psychological needs for each team member. They are autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

What this basically means is that people feel like they know what they are doing, they are given the freedom to go away and do it, and they feel connected to the other members of their team.

So how can you achieve this dynamic? And what are the elements that come together to create a team like this? Here are 5 tips to make it happen:

1. Set clear goals

Clear direction and goals are essential but here’s the catch: it’s also critical that the team agrees with the goals. The team needs to believe that the goals are worthy and have a shared sense of purpose around working together to achieve them.

2. Foster open, authentic communication

People need to feel safe to share their ideas, be vulnerable and disclose details of their lives outside of work. This all comes down to trust – teams that trust each other perform a lot better.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) research found that high-performing teams were significantly more likely to express positive emotions with their colleagues. They were more likely to compliment, joke with, and tease their teammates. In emails, they were more likely to use exclamation points, emojis, and GIFs.

They were also more likely to express negative emotions at work. How does this support a positive team environment? According to the article, “The alternative to expressing negative emotions is suppressing them, and suppression is cognitively expensive. It involves expending valuable cognitive resources attempting to hide emotions from others, leaving less mental firepower for doing the work.”

3. Bond outside of work

Colleagues that bond – often over coffee, tea or drinks outside of work – have been shown to work better together.

The best teams don’t actually work all the time. Instead, they invest time connecting in genuine ways, which yields closer friendships and better teamwork later on.

HBR research also found that discussing non-work topics offers major advantages. That’s because it’s in personal conversations that we identify shared interests, fostering deeper liking and authentic connections.

Forging deeper relationships also provides a level of protection. Conflict and disagreements are inevitable within teams but when there is a baseline friendship, there is more psychological motivation to resolve the conflict and repair the relationship, making for better teamwork in the long run.

4. Prioritise collective success over individual achievement

It’s a cliché but there really is no ‘I’ in team. Superstars who want to shine at the expense of their colleagues will disrupt the dynamic, and demotivate other members who feel as though they are left in the shadows. High performing teams identify and respect the individual strengths of each member, allocate work accordingly and support each other in their progress.

5. Share appreciation and celebrate wins

Voicing appreciation for each other’s work and celebrating wins has a hugely motivational effect. Why? Because most humans will move towards people and situations that make them feel good, and they will continue putting effort into something that receives praise. The basic concept is that if you want more of something – a behaviour, an outcome, an achievement – voice your appreciation for the people involved and you will get more of the good stuff.

As Anoare Abdou says, “No team sets out to be average. But only a few end up being high-performing. That’s because it requires incredible synergy and a perfect storm of several factors to deliver outstanding performance as a group.”

Follow the tips outlined above and you will be on the right track. Need help with building your team? Get in touch today for a consultation  debbie@debbieroberts.com.au – I would love to help!

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