Concept of High-Performance Teams

4th July 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

High-performance teams (HPTs) is a concept within organization development referring to teams, organizations, or virtual groups that are highly focused on their goals and that achieve superior business results. High-performance teams outperform all other similar teams and they outperform expectations given their composition.

A high-performance team can be defined as a group of people with specific roles and complementary talents and skills, aligned with and committed to a common purpose, who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation, produce superior results, and extinguish radical or extreme opinions that could be damaging. The high-performance team is regarded as tight-knit, focused on their goal and have supportive processes that will enable any team member to surmount any barriers in achieving the team’s goals.

Within the high-performance team, people are highly skilled and are able to interchange their roles. Also, leadership within the team is not vested in a single individual. Instead the leadership role is taken up by various team members, according to the need at that moment in time. High-performance teams have robust methods of resolving conflict efficiently, so that conflict does not become a roadblock to achieving the team’s goals. There is a sense of clear focus and intense energy within a high-performance team. Collectively, the team has its own consciousness, indicating shared norms and values within the team. The team feels a strong sense of accountability for achieving their goals. Team members display high levels of mutual trust towards each other.

What distinguishes high-performance teams from other groups is that a team is more than a collection of people simply following orders. To function effectively, a high-performance team also needs:

  • A deep sense of purpose and commitment to the team’s members and to the mission.
  • Relatively more ambitious performance goals than average teams.
  • Mutual accountability and a clear understanding of members’ responsibilities to the team and individual obligations.
  • A diverse range of expertise that complements other team members’ abilities.
  • Interdependence and trust between members.

There are four key reasons why teams work:

  • A group of individuals brings complementary skills and experience that exceed the abilities of a single individual.
  • Teams support real-time problem-solving and are more flexible and responsive to changing demands.
  • Teams provide a unique social dimension that enhances the economic and administrative aspects of work.
  • High-performance teams generally have more fun at work than low-achieving teams or individuals.


Different characteristics have been used to describe high-performance teams. Despite varying approaches to describing high-performance teams there is a set of common characteristics that are recognised to lead to success

Participative leadership: Using a democratic leadership style that involves and engages team members.

Talent, skills and work ethic: High-performance teams begin by recruiting and retaining their best talent while quickly helping low-performing members find other places to work. Morale typically increases as performance increases. After selecting for talent, it is critical to ensure that the team members possess complementary skills (e.g., technical, problem-solving, decision-making and interpersonal skills). Team members must exhibit a sustained commitment to performance excellence, exercise candor and mutual respect, and hold themselves and their organizations accountable at both the individual and team levels.

Effective decision-making: Using a blend of rational and intuitive decision making methods, depending on that nature of the decision task

Open and clear communication: Ensuring that the team mutually constructs shared meaning, using effective communication methods and channels

Valued diversity: Valuing a diversity of experience and background in team, contributing to a diversity of viewpoints, leading to better decision making and solutions

Mutual trust: Trusting in other team members and trusting in the team as an entity.

Incentives, motivation and efficacy: Both monetary and nonmonetary systems that encourage high performance have a positive impact on tactical implementation of the team’s goals. Over the long term, intrinsic motivators such as personal satisfaction at work and working on interesting projects provide the greatest impact on performance. In addition, a belief in one’s self and abilities encourages people to take more strategic risks to achieve team goals.

Managing conflict: Dealing with conflict openly and transparently and not allowing grudges to build up and destroy team morale

Clear goals: Goals that are developed using SMART criteria; also each goal must have personal meaning and resonance for each team member, building commitment and engagement

Defined roles and responsibilities: Each team member understands what they must do (and what they must not do) to demonstrate their commitment to the team and to support team success

Coordinative relationship: The bonds between the team members allow them to seamlessly coordinate their work to achieve both efficiency and effectiveness

Positive atmosphere: An overall team culture that is open, transparent, positive, future-focused and able to deliver success