High performance teams rely on the engagement and involvement of their members to consciously work together to be the best that they can. A team leader cannot do this on their own, although there are some important things they can do to help this along.
The 'head' or team thinking
First there needs to be some very clear direction on what the team and its members are trying to do. This includes having a clear purpose and goals, well defined roles and responsibilities, and some way of monitoring how well the team is performing. The team leader needs to be effective in giving that direction, and perhaps even in inspiring the team with a vision to aim for. The team's ability to be creative and to innovate could also fall under this heading.
The 'heart' or team relationships
A high performance team addresses the relationships within it, as well as the tasks - so that there is a good balance between each. The team members understand and appreciate the diversity within the team, and make the most of the various strengths that each person brings. In fact the team leader seeks to enhance the diversity within the team; this will enhance its creativity and ability to work with a diverse customer base. There is trust and support for each other, and an open exchange of opinions, ideas and feelings.
The 'guts' or operation of the team
There are a number of process or operation related activities that a team engages in. These include decision making, meetings, managing the teams information and records, ways to communicate with stakeholders (customers, colleagues, suppliers etc.), and ensuring that all actions are being progressed. Team members will be aware of good practices from past and present experiences and will be able to influence how these are adopted within the team.
How to carry out team temperature checks or diagnostics
We have written a couple of blogs over the years addressing team health checks and diagnostics based on the various prerequisites for high performance teams:
Together these describe how to engage team members, be it in operational or in project teams, in a way that will enable them to help their teams reach high performance.