Penny Mallory

Penny Mallory

A team may be your colleagues at work, but it could also be your friendship group, your family, or your marriage.

If you are part of a great team, you’ll know the feeling of looking forward to work, knowing anything is possible, feeling charged up with energy, and having a real sense of belonging.

But I bet there have been times in your life when you were part of a team from hell—with constant disagreement and conflict—when you walked on eggshells daily and were afraid to speak up.

A high-performing team wants to go the extra mile every day. Where people aren’t giving the bare minimum—they want (and start to need) to overdeliver, impress, and perform beyond ordinary. Most us enjoy delivering great results—human beings love to please others—and a great team is bursting with people who are driven to give their very best and more.

High-performing leaders create energy and enthusiasm by inspiring, more than they drive, so the teams behave more “pull” than “push.”

Too many leaders underestimate the impact they have on the people around them. The time they start work; the hours they put in; even the way they dress, walk, and talk—it all filters down to their teams, who will “mirror” the behaviors of their leader. If a leader is energized and enthusiastic, that will filter down to their team.

Differences, issues, and problems are addressed quickly and directly in a high-performing team. This requires trust and maturity. When people believe that they are trusted and others have their back, disputes can be resolved. Be the first to admit failure, because others will feel safe to follow.

Team leaders that focus on competition versus cooperation never really achieve outstanding results. People don’t really want to come to work and do something that any other team could accomplish; they want to do something extraordinary. Great leaders set stretching goals that create an internal drive to succeed. Humans love to achieve and get results, and when they smash a goal they once thought was out of their reach, their motivation and enthusiasm rises.

Team leaders communicate, communicate, communicate the vision and the direction. Repeated communication of the vision of the team will embed the message and help team members to remain focused on the vision. High-performance team leaders stay on message—they constantly communicate and keep people focused on the vision and mission to accomplish.

It’s vital that you allow people to thrive and create and don’t constrain their talents. Why would you hire great people, choose talented individuals, to then constrain their brilliance? It makes no sense. You will get the best out of a team when they are set free to create and explore. If you are trying to change people, then you may simply have the wrong people around you.

If a team leader is not trusted, they can’t be inspiring or trusted to resolve conflicts. If the leader isn’t trusted, they will struggle to get the team to embrace stretch goals or believe their communications.

Appreciation may be the most underestimated quality of any leader. According to research, it’s the No. 1 motivator for people: The need to be appreciated.