Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D and the president of T.A.H. Performance Consultants Inc., defines a high performance work team as “a group (two or more) of interdependent individuals who work together in a specific manner to achieve a common objective.” The team is created to achieve the goal in as little time as possible with the most productivity and effectiveness. High performance teams are commonly developed to solve a problem during a crisis or brainstorm marketing strategies. A successful high performance team (HPT) will exhibit certain characteristics.
An HPT develops goals and defines a mission statement from the beginning of the project. Each member of the team has a specific job title and purpose in accomplishing those goals. The goals help to provide direction and ensure productivity in a timely manner.
Encourage Open Communication
Open communication is a common characteristic of an HPT. Open communication can include feedback or brainstorming sessions, surveys, and discussion and focus groups. The individuals in an HPT are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings and suggestions with one another.
Maintain Positive Relationships
Conflict is a part of team dynamics. Successful HPTs know how use conflict to build the team instead of destroying it. Each member is committed to developing and maintaining positive relationships through nonaggressive confrontation, and verbal and nonverbal communication. The team members show one another respect and work together for the common good of the team.
Problem-solving is a large aspect of HPTs. The team learns the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and is able to capitalize on different team members' abilities when needed. Problem-solving begins with a team effectively identifying where the problem began and how to repair it as efficiently as possible.
Exhibit Team Leadership
Effective HPTs are able to respond to and respect their leader. For example, when an executive decision needs to be made and the leader decides to implement a certain strategy, the team members respond immediately with support and action.
Provide Training and Development
HPTs are given the opportunity of training and developing in specific areas such as leadership principles, organizational effectiveness and communication skills. Training and development manifests itself in formal classes and training sessions, as well as in resources such as books and personal coaching.