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11 months ago by Marina Maxwell

The qualities of a successful team and the importance of performance management

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​I have always been a firm believer that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but in an organisation, this premise requires for leadership, collaboration and a common purpose.  Due to it not being unreasonable to conjecture that teamwork is a key factor underpinning a company’s overall performance, we thought it would be relevant to consolidate some existing research on the topic and add our own. You will find that teamwork and performance are in most cases inextricably intertwined and it is therefore important not to underestimate the significance of internal unity since performance can suffer at the expense of poor teamwork.

But why is teamwork so critical and what are the key qualities behind it? For one, high-performing teams can build affinity, brand appeal and long-term value, all fundamental in today’s competitive landscape as companies work hard to differentiate themselves from their competition.  A supportive team can be critical to morale and the wellbeing of an employee in the workplace –having your employees as natural brand ambassadors is a strong way of showcasing your company.

So does the size of an organisation and the size of a team matter?

The answer is yes to both. On average, teams in smaller organisations outperform mid-sized and larger organizations. Over half of respondents from smaller organizations consider their team as achieving its potential, and this decreases to 35% of senior executives from mid-sized organizations and 39% in large organizations. Consolidating these findings with the answers across my organisation, we could speculate that some elemental teamwork attributes in the workplace - shared vision & rewards, clear structure and leadership can be more difficult to achieve in a larger organisation, impacting on the overall performance. Whilst structure and hierarchies are necessary in most cases, it is as important to avoid unnecessary hierarchy and take into account that in some cases, flatter structures work better.

What do people believe are the key qualities of a successful team?

I asked some of my colleagues at Freshminds what they consider as important qualities in their teams, you can see the results below:

It is not a surprise to confirm that collaboration and communication are leading the table. Successful communication is a trait that the highest performing teams leverage on to outperform average teams. Communication and interpersonal skills are vital for any organisation and it is important to act on these before they become an issue. Everyone seems to acknowledge communication as a key attribute, but how else can you improve your team’s performance?

6 ways to improve team performance

  • Shared goals: 

  • Understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses

  • Bring the right people on board. 

  • Recognition and motivation

  • Feedback

  • Flexibility and trust: 

While the elements of a successful team can vary from the organisation and across different industries, overlooking the importance of improving team performance seems to be a recurrent issue. Defining the top priorities is the first step to redefine performance management and ensure these translate into hiring the right people.