Author Stephen Robbins in the book titled ‘Essentials of Organizational Behaviour’ writes that high-performing teams are characterised by the following commonalities:
- Tend to be small sized teams
- Team members have three different types of skills, a) Technical, b) Problem solving and decision making, c) Interpersonal skills
- Team members are properly matched to their roles
- They have a commitment to a common purpose
- They have specific goals
- There is strong leadership and structure to provide focus and direction
- There is high mutual trust among the team members
The above factors provide a framework that gives direction on how to constitute the right team and then how to develop that team. Team size, skills and role matching are key issues when a team is being constituted. To quote Stephen Robbins’ viewpoint on the right skill-set:
‘No team can achieve its performance potential without developing all three types of skills. The right mix is crucial. Too much of one at the expense of others will lower team performance’.
For the team to reach its full potential it may be necessary to develop the team by helping them acquire some of the high-performing characteristics. For instance, to further improve the mix of skills within the team, training can come to the rescue. Many companies have a ‘learning cell’ that is used when some of the employees don’t fully meet the standards necessary for a team task, especially when an employee has the potential for the role. Similarly, if there is trust deficiency within the team, then suitable team building programs can guide them. The glue that holds it all together and provides the right focus is three-fold; the team’s commitment, specific team goals and strong leadership.