What really makes a high-performing team different to the rest?
High performing teams are the holy grail for organisations, yet no one seems to have figured out what makes them so brilliant compared to the mediocre challengers. Otherwise, every team would be a high performer, right?
The truth is, science figured this one out a while ago.
The critical difference is in how team members relate to each other. Here’s how self-awareness impacts performance.
How self-awareness impacts performance
Having a deep knowledge of self and others is considered the strongest predictor of successful performance. Self-awareness is understanding who we are, who others are, and how we are similar or different. But it’s also being able to balance the accuracy of our self-view against the open and objective view of others to adjust and improve as needed.
Common attributes of self-aware teams are:
- team collaboration and communication
- self-resilience, confidence, and adaptiveness
- better decision-making and conflict resolution
- humility and respect
- openness to feedback and a willingness to continuously improve.
On the other hand, one study found that teams with less self-aware individuals made worse decisions, engaged in less coordination, and showed less conflict management.
How to build self-aware teams
Because who doesn’t want an organisation full of high-performing teams, right?
1. Empower team members to give and ask for feedback
It’s with open, honest, and transparent feedback that we can identify our blind spots and commit to self-improvement. But feedback shouldn’t be this once-a-year tick-box event – you want to promote ongoing feedback. It doesn’t need to always be 1:1, either. You could turn feedback into a group experience, encouraging the team to give and receive feedback as a collective.
2. Team assessments to gain a qualified understanding of unique member styles
Self-awareness is two-way. While it’s essential people can understand their own moods, feelings, values, thoughts, preferences and how they may affect others, it’s also essential to understand how others see you, too.
We’ve tried to make this easier with Cadrelo. Each time a new team member joins, they complete a quiz about their preferred team contribution style. They’re invited to share things like:
- how they prefer to show up in the office and in meetings (e.g., super organised, super chill, super rigid, super loud)
- how they prefer to be communicated with (e.g., email, direct message, phone call, in person at desk)
- how they prefer to book meetings (e.g., back-to-back or spread out)
- their preferred structure for the day (e.g., meetings only in the mornings)
Individuals can then compare their profiles with each other for tips on the best way of working together. Team assessments are such a valuable activity because they help highlight our blind spots: the point between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. So, the more people know, the better they can interact amongst each other.
3. Have clear values, rituals, and operating principles
i.e., ‘The way we do things ‘round here’. Establishing clear values, rituals and operating principles help the team stay connected and on track to get stuff done. When everyone understands what’s required of them, they become more accountable, engaged, and motivated to achieve the team’s objectives.